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B. M. JI E H M H 


H 3 d a h u e nemeepmoe 

M O C K B A 

V. I. L E N I N 




August 1921-March 1923 

MOSCOW 1973 



From Marx to Mao 


© Digital Reprints 


First printing 1965 
Second printing 1973 

Printed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 




Preface 17 




1. To the Manager of the Central Statistical Board, 
August 16 30 

2. To the Manager of the Central Statistical Board or 

His Deputy, September 1 33 

September 1 36 






All-Russia Congress of Political Education Departments, 
October 17 60 

Abrupt Change of Policy of the Soviet Government 

and the R.C.P 60 



The 1918 Decision of the All-Russia Central Execu- 
tive Committee on the Role of the Peasantry .... 61 

Our Mistake 62 

A Strategical Retreat 63 

Purport of the New Economic Policy 64 

Who Will Win, the Capitalist or Soviet Power?. ... 65 

The Fight Will Be Even Fiercer 66 

Is This the Last Fight? 68 

We Must not Count on Going Straight to Communism 69 
The Principle of Personal Incentive and Responsibil- 
ity 70 

Shall We Be Able to Work for Our Own Benefit? ... 71 

Obsolete Methods 73 

The Greatest Miracle of All 74 

Tasks of Political Educationalists 76 

The Three Chief Enemies 7 7 

The First Enemy — Communist Conceit 7 7 

The Second Enemy — Illiteracy 78 

The Third Enemy— Bribery 78 

Difference Between Military and Cultural Problems . . 78 

SIAN COMMUNIST PARTY, October 29-31, 1921 81 

ber 29 83 

2. CLOSING SPEECH, October 29 102 


THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION, November 6, 1921. Brief News- 
paper Report 117 

1921 118 

November 7, 1921. Brief Newspaper Report 120 





November 28 127 

CONGRESS, November 29, 1921 128 



ber 19 .^ > y. . . . A. 138 


23-28, 1921 .... •TsJO'T • ThOR 141 

Report of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee 

and the Council of People's Commissars, December 23 143 

December 28 178 



1. The New Economic Policy and the Trade Unions 184 

2. State Capitalism in the Proletarian State and the 
Trade Unions 185 

3. The State Enterprises That Are Being Put on a 
Profit Basis and the Trade Unions 185 



4. The Essential Difference Between the Class 
Struggle of the Proletariat in a State Which Rec- 
ognises Private Ownership of the Land, Facto- 
ries, etc., and Where Political Power Is in the 
Hands of the Capitalist Class, and the Economic 
Struggle of the Proletariat in a State Which Does 
not Recognise Private Ownership of the Land and 
the Majority of the Large Enterprises and Where 
Political Power Is in the Hands of the Proletariat 186 

5. Reversion to Voluntary Trade Union Membership 188 

6. The Trade Unions and the Management of 

Industry 188 

7. The Role and Functions of the Trade Unions in 
the Business and Administrative Organisations of 

the Proletarian State 189 

8. Contact With the Masses — the Fundamental Con- 
dition for All Trade Union Activity 192 

9. The Contradictions in the Status of the Trade 
Unions Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat 193 

10. The Trade Unions and the Specialists 194 

11. The Trade Unions and Petty-Bourgeois Influence 

on the Working Class 195 




THE GEORGIAN RED ARMY. February 13 200 

CIVIL CODE, February 28 202 

NOTES OF A PUBLICIST. On Ascending a High Mountain; 
the Harm of Despondency; the Utility of Trade; Attitude 
Towards the Mensheviks, etc 204 

I. By Way of Example 204 

II. Without Metaphors 205 

III. Catching Foxes; Levi and Serrati 207 

SOVIET REPUBLIC. Speech Delivered to a Meeting of the 
Communist Group at the All-Russia Congress of Metalwork- 
ers, March 6, 1922 212 



CAL BUREAU. Re Comrade Preobrazhensky' s Theses, 
March 16 237 



March 21 247 



PARTY. Letters to V. M. Molotov 254 

1 254 

2 256 

April 2, 1922 259 

1. SPEECH IN OPENING THE CONGRESS, March 27 ... . 261 

2. POLITICAL REPORT OF THE C.C., R.C.P.(B.), March 27 263 

C.C., R.C.P.(B.), March 28 310 


Osinsky, April 1 327 





I. The General and Main Functions of the Deputy 

Chairmen 335 

II. Specific Questions Concerning the Work of the 

Deputy Chairmen 336 

III. The Deputy Chairmen's Methods of Work. Their 
Staffs 339 

IV. Co-ordinating the Work of the Two Deputy 
Chairmen 341 

V. Distribution of Functions Between the Deputy 

Chairmen 341 

LETTER TO J. V. STALIN. To Comrade Stalin (for the 
Political Bureau), April 15 344 

NEW SUBJECTS. Preface to the 1922 Edition 345 

AZNEFT TRUST. Baku, April 28 348 


SARS 353 


LETTER TO D. I. KURSKY, May 17 358 


1. May 19 360 

2. May 19 362 




UNIONS, September 17 370 


TO THE WORKERS OF BAKU, October 6 373 

LEAGUE OF RUSSIA, October 11 374 

R.C.P.(B.) RE THE FOREIGN TRADE MONOPOLY, October 13. . 375 

October 20 379 

UNITED STATES), October 20 380 

October 20 381 

October 26 382 


October 31 390 


TO PRAVDA, November 2 397 

CO-OPERATORS, November 2 398 

ber 4 399 


First Version 400 

Second Version (Unfinished) 406 



November 6 410 

November 7 411 


November 8 413 

AL, November 5-December 5, 1922 415 

WORKERS' AND RED ARMY DEPUTIES, November 4 . . . 417 

the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 
November 13, 1922 418 

TION, November 14 433 

TO THE CLARTE GROUP, November 15 434 

November 20, 1922 435 








RE THE MONOPOLY OF FOREIGN TRADE, December 13 ... . 455 

R.C.P.(B.), December 15 460 




1 467 

II 472 

OUR REVOLUTION (Apropos of N. Sukhanov s Notes) 476 

1 476 

II 480 

ANTS' INSPECTION (Recommendation to the Twelfth Party 

Congress) 481 


Notes 503 

The Life and Work of V. I. Lenin. Outstanding Dates . . . 539 


Portrait of V. I. Lenin. 1921 16-17 

First page of Lenin's manuscript "Fourth Anniversary of 

the October Revolution", October 14, 1921 48-49 





Volume 33 contains articles, reports, speeches and letters 
written by Lenin in the period from August 16, 1921 to 
March 2, 1923. 

In them he sums up the first results of economic rehabili- 
tation under the New Economic Policy and substantiates 
the possibility of and outlines a plan for the building of 
socialism in Soviet Russia. 

In the articles "New Times and Old Mistakes in a New 
Guise", "Fourth Anniversary of the October Revolution", 
"The Importance of Gold Now and After the Complete 
Victory of Socialism", the reports "The Home and Foreign 
Policy of the Republic" at the Ninth All-Russia Congress 
of Soviets on December 23, 1921, "Political Report of the 
Central Committee of the R.C.P.(B.)" on March 27, 1922 
at the Eleventh Party Congress, "Five Years of the Russian 
Revolution and the Prospects of the World Revolution" at 
the Fourth Congress of the Communist International on 
November 13, 1922, "Speech at a Plenary Session of the 
Moscow Soviet" on November 20, 1922, and in other works, 
Lenin traces the restoration and revival of large-scale socialist 
industry and the strengthening of the alliance between 
the workers and peasants on a new economic foundation. 
He outlines the ways of combating capitalist elements 
and expresses the firm conviction that "NEP Russia will 
become socialist Russia". 

Some of the speeches, articles and documents in this vol- 
ume deal with the building up of the Party, the purging of 
the Party and the improvement of its social composition, 
criticism and self-criticism, and the leadership of local 
government bodies, the trade unions and the co-operatives. 



These include the article "Purging the Party", the letters 
"The Conditions for Admitting New Members to the Party", 
"Political Report of the Central Committee of the R.C.P.(B.)" 
at the Eleventh Party Congress, and the decision of the C.C., 
R.C.P.(B.) on "The Role and Functions of the Trade Unions 
Under the New Economic Policy". 

Considerable space is taken up in this volume by works 
showing Lenin's activity in strengthening and improving 
the state apparatus. These include "Tasks of the Workers' 
and Peasants' Inspection and How They Are to Be Under- 
stood and Fulfilled", "Letter to J. V. Stalin on the Func- 
tions of the Deputy Chairmen of the Council of People's 
Commissars and of the Council of Labour and Defence", 
"Decree on the Functions of the Deputy Chairmen of the Coun- 
cil of People's Commissars and of the Council of Labour 
and Defence", "'Dual' Subordination and Legality" and "Speech 
at the Fourth Session of the All-Russia Central Executive 
Committee, Ninth Convocation" on October 31, 1922. 

In many of the speeches, articles and documents in this 
volume Lenin sets forth the fundamental principles of the 
Soviet Government's foreign policy. On the premise that 
the Soviet Republic could coexist peacefully with capital- 
ist states, Lenin considered that Soviet foreign policy should 
be founded on the struggle for peace and the defence of the 
independence and sovereignty of the Soviet state. 

In the works dealing with the international working-class 
and communist movement, Lenin formulates the key objec- 
tives of the united front tactics and speaks of the prospects 
for the development of the world revolution. He emphasises 
that the mounting national liberation movement and revo- 
lutionary struggle in the East, in India and China, which 
together with Soviet Russia have the overwhelming majority 
of the world's population, are of tremendous importance for 
the final triumph of socialism on a world scale. 

This volume contains Lenin's last articles: "Pages From a 
Diary", "On Co-operation", "Our Revolution", "How We 
Should Reorganise the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection" 
and "Better Fewer, but Better". In these articles he 
sums up the results of the work that has been done, out- 
lines a plan for building socialism in Soviet Russia by draw- 
ing the peasants into socialist construction, and puts forward 



his co-operative plan for bringing the peasants into the work 
of building socialism. He defines the tasks in the cultural 
revolution and suggests concrete measures aimed at reorgan- 
ising the state apparatus. 

Included in this volume is Lenin's well-known article 
"On the Significance of Militant Materialism", in which 
he sets forth a programme of work in the sphere of Marxist 

The works and letters in this volume clearly show Lenin's 
struggle against the enemies of the Party — the Trotskyites 
and Bukharinites, against great-Russian chauvinism and 
local nationalism, and for strengthening friendship among 

Also in this volume are 20 works published in the Col- 
lected Works for the first time. "Letters to the Central 
Statistical Board", "Speech at a Meeting of Working Men and 
Women, Red Army Men and Young People of Khamovniki 
District, Moscow, Held to Mark the Fourth Anniversary of 
the October Revolution" on November 7, 1921 and "Draft 
Directive of the Political Bureau on the New Economic Pol- 
icy" (the latter two documents are published for the first 
time) deal with the implementation of the New Economic 

In "Letter to P. A. Zalutsky, A. A. Solts and All Members 
of the Political Bureau Re the Party Purge and the Condi- 
tions of Admission into the Party" Lenin suggests instituting 
stricter conditions for admission into the Party. 

In "Reply to Remarks Concerning the Functions of the 
Deputy Chairmen of the Council of People's Commissars" 
Lenin sharply criticises Trotsky's hostile, anti-Party stand 
on the question of the role and functions of the Workers' 
and Peasants' Inspection and the State Planning Commis- 

For the first time the Collected Works include Lenin's 
letter to D. I. Kursky on the Soviet Civil Code; "Memo to 
the Political Bureau on Combating Dominant Nation Chau- 
vinism"; "Letter to J. V. Stalin for Members of the C.C., 
R.C.P.(B.) Re the Foreign Trade Monopoly" on October 13, 
1922 (published for the first time) in which Lenin upholds 
the immutability of the monopoly on foreign trade against 
the attempts of Bukharin, Sokolnikov and others to wreck 



the foundations of that monopoly; "Letter to J. V. Stalin 
for Members of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.)" on December 15, 
1922, on the question of the report to the Tenth All-Russia 
Congress of Soviets; two letters to the political Bureau on 
the promotion of radio engineering, and a letter for the Polit- 
ical Bureau on April 15, 1922 (published for the first time). 

In the "Letter to the Political Bureau Re the Resolution 
of the Ninth All-Russia Congress of Soviets on the Inter- 
national Situation" Lenin emphasises the international role 
of the Soviet state as the first country to have actually 
implemented the policy of self-determination of nations. 

The "Draft Decision of the All-Russia Central Executive 
Committee on the Report of the Delegation to the Genoa 
Conference" defines the basic objectives of Soviet foreign pol- 
icy; in the "Memo to G. Y. Zinoviev with the Draft of 
the Soviet Government's Reply to E. Vandervelde" Lenin 
exposes the treachery of the leaders of the Second and 
Two-and-a-Half Internationals who came out in defence 
Or the counter-revolutionary Menshevik and Socialist- 
Revolutionary parties (both documents are published 
for the first time). 

Published for the first time in the Collected Works are 
Lenin's greetings to various congresses and organisations: 
"Telegram to Narimanov, Chairman of the Council of People's 
Commissars of Azerbaijan" (published for the first time), "To 
the Working People of Daghestan", "Telegram to the Workers 
and Engineers of the Azneft Trust", "To the Workers of 
the Former Michelson Plant" and "To the Workers and Em- 
ployees at the State Elektroperedacha Power Station". 



Every specific turn in history causes some change in the 
form of petty-bourgeois wavering, which always occurs 
alongside the proletariat, and which, in one degree or an- 
other, always penetrates its midst. 

This wavering flows in two "streams": petty-bourgeois 
reformism, i.e., servility to the bourgeoisie covered by a 
cloak of sentimental democratic and "Social"-Democratic 
phrases and fatuous wishes; and petty-bourgeois revolu- 
tionism — menacing, blustering and boastful in words, but a 
mere bubble of disunity, disruption and brainlessness in 
deeds. This wavering will inevitably occur until the taproot 
of capitalism is cut. Its form is now changing owing to the 
change taking place in the economic policy of the Soviet 

The leitmotif of the Mensheviks 1 is: "The Bolsheviks 
have reverted to capitalism; that is where they will meet 
their end. The revolution, including the October Revolution, 
has turned out to be a bourgeois revolution after all! Long 
live democracy! Long live reformism!" Whether this is 
said in the purely Menshevik spirit or in the spirit of 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries, 2 in the spirit of the Second 
International or in the spirit of the Two-and-a-Half 
International, 3 it amounts to the same thing. 

The leitmotif of semi-anarchists like the German "Commu- 
nist Workers' Party", 4 or of that section of our former 
Workers' Opposition 5 which has left or is becoming estranged 
from the Party, is: "The Bolsheviks have lost faith in 
the working class." The slogans they deduce from this are 
more or less akin to the "Kronstadt" slogans of the spring 
of 1921. 6 



In contrast to the whining and panic of the philistines 
from among reformists and of the philistines from among 
revolutionaries, the Marxists must weigh the alignment 
of actual class forces and the incontrovertible facts as soberly 
and as accurately as possible. 

Let us recall the main stages of our revolution. The first 
stage: the purely political stage, so to speak, from October 
25 to January 5, when the Constituent Assembly 7 was dis- 
solved. In a matter of ten weeks we did a hundred times 
more to actually and completely destroy the survivals of feu- 
dalism in Russia than the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries did during the eight months they were in power — from 
February to October 1917. At that time, the Mensheviks 
and Socialist-Revolutionaries in Russia, and all the heroes 
of the Two-and-a-Half International abroad, acted as miser- 
able accomplices of reaction. As for the anarchists, some 
stood aloof in perplexity, while others helped us. Was the 
revolution a bourgeois revolution at that time? Of course 
it was, insofar as our function was to complete the bourgeois- 
democratic revolution, insofar as there was as yet no class 
struggle among the "peasantry". But, at the same time, we 
accomplished a great deal over and above the bourgeois 
revolution for the socialist, proletarian revolution: 1) we 
developed the forces of the working class for its utilisation 
of state power to an extent never achieved before; 2) we struck 
a blow that was felt all over the world against the fetishes 
of petty-bourgeois democracy, the Constituent Assembly 
and bourgeois "liberties" such as freedom of the press 
for the rich; 3) we created the Soviet type of state, which 
was a gigantic step in advance of 1793 and 1871. 

The second stage: the Brest-Litovsk peace. 8 There was 
a riot of revolutionary phrase-mongering against peace — the 
semi-jingoist phrase-mongering of the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries and Mensheviks, and the "Left" phrase-monger- 
ing of a certain section of the Bolsheviks. "Since you have 
made peace with imperialism you are doomed," argued the 
philistines, some in panic and some with malicious glee. 
But the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks made 
peace with imperialism as participants in the bourgeois rob- 
bery of the workers. We "made peace", surrendering to the rob- 
bers part of our property, only in order to save the workers' 



rule, and in order to be able to strike heavier blows at the 
robbers later on. At that time we heard no end of talk about 
our having "lost faith in the forces of the working class"; 
but we did not allow ourselves to be deceived by this phrase- 

The third stage: the Civil War, beginning with the Czecho- 
slovaks 9 and the Constituent Assembly crowd and ending 
with Wrangel, 10 from 1918 to 1920. At the beginning of 
the war our Red Army was non-existent. Judged as a materi- 
al force, this army is even now insignificant compared with 
the army of any of the Entente powers. Nevertheless, we 
emerged victorious from the struggle against the mighty 
Entente. The alliance between the peasants and the workers 
led by proletarian rule — this achievement of epoch-making 
importance — was raised to an unprecedented level. The Men- 
sheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries acted as the accom- 
plices of the monarchy overtly (as Ministers, organisers and 
propagandists) and covertly (the more "subtle" and despi- 
cable method adopted by the Chernovs and Martovs, who 
pretended to wash their hands of the affair but actually 
used their pens against us). The anarchists too vacillated 
helplessly, one section of them helping us, while another 
hindering us by their clamour against military discipline 
or by their scepticism. 

The fourth stage: the Entente is compelled to cease (for 
how long?) its intervention and blockade. Our unprecedent- 
edly dislocated country is just barely beginning to recover, 
is only just realising the full depth of its ruin, is suffering 
the most terrible hardships — stoppage of industry, crop 
failures, famine, epidemics. 

We have risen to the highest and at the same time the 
most difficult stage of our historic struggle. Our enemy 
at the present moment and in the present period is not the 
same one that faced us yesterday. He is not the hordes of 
whiteguards commanded by the landowners and supported 
by all the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, by 
the whole international bourgeoisie. He is everyday economics 
in a small-peasant country with a ruined large-scale 
industry. He is the petty-bourgeois element which surrounds 
us like the air, and penetrates deep into the ranks of the 
proletariat. And the proletariat is declassed, i.e., dislodged 



from its class groove. The factories and mills are idle — the 
proletariat is weak, scattered, enfeebled. On the other hand, 
the petty-bourgeois element within the country is backed by 
the whole international bourgeoisie, which still retains its 
power throughout the world. 

Is this not enough to make people quail, especially heroes 
like the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, the 
knights of the Two-and-a-Half International, the helpless 
anarchists and the lovers of "Left" phrases? "The Bolshe- 
viks are reverting to capitalism; the Bolsheviks are done for. 
Their revolution, too, has not gone beyond the confines of 
a bourgeois revolution." We hear plenty of wails of this sort. 

But we have grown accustomed to them. 

We do not belittle the danger. We look it straight in the 
face. We say to the workers and peasants: The danger is 
great; more solidarity, more staunchness, more coolness; 
turn the pro-Menshevik and pro-Socialist-Revolutionary 
panic-mongers and tub-thumpers out with contempt. 

The danger is great. The enemy is far stronger than we are 
economically, just as yesterday he was far stronger than we 
were militarily. We know that; and in that knowledge lies 
our strength. We have already done so tremendously much 
to purge Russia of feudalism, to develop all the forces of 
the workers and peasants, to promote the world-wide strug- 
gle against imperialism and to advance the international 
proletarian movement, which is freed from the banalities 
and baseness of the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internation- 
als, that panicky cries no longer affect us. We have more than 
fully "justified" our revolutionary activity, we have shown 
the whole world by our deeds what proletarian revolu- 
tionism is capable of in contrast to Menshevik-Socialist- 
Revolutionary "democracy" and cowardly reformism decked 
with pompous phrases. 

Anyone who fears defeat on the eve of a great struggle 
can call himself a socialist only out of sheer mockery of 
the workers. 

It is precisely because we are not afraid to look danger 
in the face that we make the best use of our forces for the 
struggle — we weigh the chances more dispassionately, cauti- 
ously and prudently — we make every concession that will 
strengthen us and break up the forces of the enemy (now 



even the biggest fool can see that the "Brest peace" was a 
concession that strengthened us and dismembered the 
forces of international imperialism). 

The Mensheviks are shouting that the tax in kind, the 
freedom to trade, the granting of concessions and state 
capitalism signify the collapse of communism. Abroad, 
the ex-Communist Levi has added his voice to that of the 
Mensheviks. This same Levi had to be defended as long as 
the mistakes he had made could be explained by his reaction 
to some of the mistakes of the "Left" Communists, par- 
ticularly in March 1921 in Germany 11 ; but this same Levi 
cannot be defended when, instead of admitting that he is 
wrong, he slips into Menshevism all along the line. 

To the Menshevik shouters we shall simply point out 
that as early as the spring of 1918 the Communists proclaimed 
and advocated the idea of a bloc, an alliance with state 
capitalism against the petty-bourgeois element. That was 
three years ago! In the first months of the Bolshevik victory! 
Even then the Bolsheviks took a sober view of things. And 
since then nobody has been able to challenge the correct- 
ness of our sober calculation of the available forces. 

Levi, who has slipped into Menshevism, advises the Bol- 
sheviks (whose defeat by capitalism he "forecasts" in the 
same way as all the philistines, democrats, Social-Democrats 
and others had forecast our doom if we dissolved the Consti- 
tuent Assembly!) to appeal for aid to the whole working 
class! Because, if you please, up to now only part of the work- 
ing class has been helping us! 

What Levi says here remarkably coincides with what is 
said by those semi-anarchists and tub-thumpers, and also 
by certain members of the former "Workers' Opposition", 
who are so fond of talking large about the Bolsheviks now 
having "lost faith in the forces of the working class". Both 
the Mensheviks and those with anarchist leanings make 
a fetish of the concept "forces of the working class"; they 
are incapable of grasping its actual, concrete meaning. 
Instead of studying and analysing its meaning, they declaim. 

The gentlemen of the Two-and-a-Half International pose 
as revolutionaries; but in every serious situation they prove 
to be counter-revolutionaries because they shrink from the 
violent destruction of the old state machine; they have no 



faith in the forces of the working class. It was not a mere 
catch-phrase we uttered when we said this about the Social- 
ist-Revolutionaries and Co. Everybody knows that the Octo- 
ber Revolution actually brought new forces, a new class, 
to the forefront, that the best representatives of the proletar- 
iat are now governing Russia, built up an army, led that 
army, set up local government, etc., are running industry, 
and so on. If there are some bureaucratic distortions in this 
administration, we do not conceal this evil; we expose it, 
combat it. Those who allow the struggle against the distor- 
tions of the new system to obscure its content and to cause 
them to forget that the working class has created and is guid- 
ing a state of the Soviet type are incapable of thinking, 
and are merely throwing words to the wind. 

But the "forces of the working class" are not unlimited. 
If the flow of fresh forces from the working class is now 
feeble, sometimes very feeble, if, notwithstanding all our 
decrees, appeals and agitation, notwithstanding all our 
orders for "the promotion of non-Party people", the flow of 
forces is still feeble, then resorting to mere declamations 
about having "lost faith in the forces of the working class" 
means descending to vapid phrase-mongering. 

Without a certain "respite" these new forces will not be 
forthcoming; they can only grow slowly; and they can grow 
only on the basis of restored large-scale industry (i.e., to 
be more precise and concrete, on the basis of electrification). 
They can be obtained from no other source. 

After an enormous, unparalleled exertion of effort, the 
working class in a small-peasant, ruined country, the work- 
ing class which has very largely become declassed, needs an 
interval of time in which to allow new forces to grow and 
be brought to the fore, and in which the old and worn-out 
forces can "recuperate". The creation of a military and 
state machine capable of successfully withstanding the 
trials of 1917-21 was a great effort, which engaged, absorbed 
and exhausted real "forces of the working class" (and not 
such as exist merely in the declamations of the tub- 
thumpers). One must understand this and reckon with the 
necessary, or rather, inevitable slackening of the rate of 
growth of new forces of the working class. 

When the Mensheviks shout about the "Bonapartism" of 



the Bolsheviks (who, they claim, rely on troops and on the 
machinery of state against the will of "democracy"), they 
magnificently express the tactics of the bourgeoisie; and 
Milyukov, from his own standpoint, is right when he sup- 
ports them, supports the "Kronstadt" (spring of 1921) 
slogans. The bourgeoisie quite correctly takes into conside- 
ration the fact that the real "forces of the working class" 
now consist of the mighty vanguard of that class (the Russian 
Communist Party, which — not at one stroke, but in the 
course of twenty-five years — won for itself by deeds the role, 
the name and the power of the "vanguard" of the only 
revolutionary class) plus the elements which have been most 
weakened by being declassed, and which are most susceptible 
to Menshevik and anarchist vacillations. 

The slogan "more faith in the forces of the working class" 
is now being used, in fact, to increase the influence of the 
Mensheviks and anarchists, as was vividly proved and demon- 
strated by Kronstadt in the spring of 1921. Every class- 
conscious worker should expose and send packing those who 
shout about our having "lost faith in the forces of the work- 
ing class", because these tub-thumpers are actually the 
accomplices of the bourgeoisie and the landowners, who seek 
to weaken the proletariat for their benefit by helping to 
spread the influence of the Mensheviks and the anarchists. 

That is the crux of the matter if we dispassionately exam- 
ine what the concept "forces of the working class" really means. 

Gentlemen, what are you really doing to promote non- 
party people to what is the main "front" today, the economic 
front, for the work of economic development? That is 
the question that class-conscious workers should put to the 
tub-thumpers. That is how the tub-thumpers always can and 
should be exposed. That is how it can always be proved 
that, actually, they are not assisting but hindering econom- 
ic development; that they are not assisting but hindering 
the proletarian revolution; that they are pursuing not pro- 
letarian, but petty-bourgeois aims; and that they are serv- 
ing an alien class. 

Our slogans are: Down with the tub-thumpers! Down with 
the unwitting accomplices of the whiteguards who are repeat- 
ing the mistakes of the hapless Kronstadt mutineers of the 
spring of 1921! Get down to business-like, practical work 



that will take into account the specific features of the pres- 
ent situation and its tasks. We need not phrases but deeds. 

A sober estimation of these specific features and of the real, 
not imaginary, class forces tells us: 

The period of unprecedented proletarian achievements 
in the military, administrative and political fields has 
given way to a period in which the growth of new forces 
will be much slower; and that period did not set in by acci- 
dent, it was inevitable; it was due to the operation not of 
persons or parties, but of objective causes. In the economic 
field, development is inevitably more difficult, slower, and 
more gradual; that arises from the very nature of the activi- 
ties in this field compared with military, administrative 
and political activities. It follows from the specific difficul- 
ties of this work, from its being more deep-rooted, if one 
may so express it. 

That is why we shall strive to formulate our tasks in this 
new, higher stage of the struggle with the greatest, with 
treble caution. We shall formulate them as moderately 
as possible. We shall make as many concessions as possible 
within the limits, of course, of what the proletariat can con- 
cede and yet remain the ruling class. We shall collect the 
moderate tax in kind as quickly as possible and allow the 
greatest possible scope for the development, strengthening 
and revival of peasant farming. We shall lease the enter- 
prises that are not absolutely essential for us to lessees, includ- 
ing private capitalists and foreign concessionaires. We need 
a bloc, or alliance, between the proletarian state and state 
capitalism against the petty-bourgeois element. We must 
achieve this alliance skilfully, following the rule: "Measure 
your cloth seven times before you cut." We shall leave 
ourselves a smaller field of work, only what is absolutely 
necessary. We shall concentrate the enfeebled forces of the 
working class on something less, but we shall consolidate our- 
selves all the more and put ourselves to the test of practical 
experience not once or twice, but over and over again. Step 
by step, inch by inch — for at present the "troops" we have 
at our command cannot advance any other way on tbe diffi- 
cult road we have to travel, in the stern conditions under 
which we are living, and amidst the dangers we have to 
face. Those who find this work "dull", "uninteresting" and 



"unintelligible", those who turn up their noses or become 
panic-stricken, or who become intoxicated with their own 
declamations about the absence of the "previous elation", 
the "previous enthusiasm", etc., had better be "relieved of 
their jobs" and given a back seat, so as to prevent them from 
causing harm; for they will not or cannot understand the 
specific features of the present stage, the present phase of 
the struggle. 

Amidst the colossal ruin of the country and the exhaus- 
tion of the forces of the proletariat, by a series of almost 
superhuman efforts, we are tackling the most difficult job: 
laying the foundation for a really socialist economy, for 
the regular exchange of commodities (or, more correctly, 
exchange of products) between industry and agriculture. 
The enemy is still far stronger than we are; anarchic, profi- 
teering, individual commodity exchange is undermining 
our efforts at every step. We clearly see the difficulties and 
will systematically and perseveringly overcome them. More 
scope for independent local enterprise; more forces to the 
localities; more attention to their practical experience. 
The working class can heal its wounds, its proletarian "class 
forces" can recuperate, and the confidence of the peasantry 
in proletarian leadership can be strengthened only as real 
success is achieved in restoring industry and in bringing 
about a regular exchange of products through the medium 
of the state that benefits both the peasant and the worker. 
And as we achieve this we shall get an influx of new forces, 
not as quickly as every one of us would like, perhaps, but 
we shall get it nevertheless. 

Let us get down to work, to slower, more cautious, more 
persevering and persistent work! 

August 20, 1921 

Pravda No. 190, August 28, 1921 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Publishedl according to 
the Pravda text checked 
with proofs corrected by Lenin 





August 16 

Comrade Popov, 

The correspondence with the Central Statistical Board, 
particularly the data supplied to me on August 3 on current 
industrial statistics, has made it perfectly clear to me that 
my instructions (in the letter of June 4, 1921) are not being 
carried out at all and that the entire work, the entire organi- 
sation of the Central Statistical Board is wrong. 

The data given to me on August 3 as current industrial 
statistics are obsolete and were supplied multa non multum — 
of considerable volume but small content! That is exactly 
like the "bureaucratic institutions", from which you said 
in your letter of June 11, 1921 you want to separate the Cen- 
tral Statistical Board. 

Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn n has already printed much fuller 
data in the supplement to its No. 152 issue, i.e., in Julyl 

From the same Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn I have already 
had data for the first quarter of 1921! 

The Central Statistical Board, which lags behind an unof- 
ficial group of writers, is a model bureaucratic institution. 
In about two years' time it may provide a heap of data for 
research, but that is not what we want. 

Nearly two and a half months have passed since my letter 
of June 4, 1921, but nothing has changed. The same short- 
comings are in evidence. There is no sign of your promised 
"calendar programme" and so forth (letter of June 11). 

Once more I draw your attention to the incorrectness of 



all this and to the need to accelerate the reorganisation of 
the work of the Central Statistical Board. 
In particular: 

1) the chairman or manager of the Central Statistical 
Board must work in closer contact with the State Planning 
Commission and in accordance with the direct instructions 
of and tasks set by the Chairman of the State Planning Com- 
mission and its Presidium; 

2) current statistics (both industrial and agricultural) 
must give summarised, practical key data (postponing aca- 
demic analyses of "full" data) never later but necessarily 
earlier than our press. 

You must learn to pick out what is practically important 
and urgent, and shelve data of academic value; 

3) together with the State Planning Commission, a kind 
of index-number* must be prepared by which to appraise 
the state of our entire economy; it must be done at least once 
a month and must be given in comparison with pre-war fig- 
ures and then with the figures for 1920 and, where possible, 
for 1917, 1918 and 1919. 

Approximate, presumed, preliminary data (with a spe- 
cial reservation on each such or similar category) must be 
given where exact figures are unobtainable. 

For our practical work we must have figures and the Cen- 
tral Statistical Board must have them before anybody else. 
Let the checking of the accuracy of the figures, the determin- 
ing of the percentage of error and so forth be postponed 
for some time. 

The figures to be used for the index-number must be deter- 
mined by the Central Statistical Board and the State Plan- 
ning Commission. (Roughly: main, key figures — population, 
territory, output of principal products, main results of the 
work of transport, and so forth — at least 10-15 figures con- 
formably with the way these "index-numbers" have for a 
long time been compiled by statisticians abroad.) 

4) Immediately, without any red tape (for it was abso- 
lutely impermissible to have done nothing about it for two 
and a half months) organise the prompt delivery of data 
on the eight questions I indicated on June 4 in my 

The words "index-number" are in English in the original. — Ed. 



"approximate list" and also a summary report both general 
and in particular: 

— without delay on Moscow (Moscow must be exemplary); 

— then on Petrograd, 

— and on each gubernia (singling out those gubernias where 
the people do their work quickly, without red tape, not in 
accordance with old academic customs). 

Have nine-tenths of the available personnel at the Cen- 
tral Statistical Board and the Gubernia Statistical Bureaus 
put at once to the job of processing these eight questions 
correctly and rapidly, and put one-tenth on the academic 
work of studying complete and all-embracing data. If that 
cannot be done, ninety-nine per cent of the personnel must 
be put on processing data practically and urgently required 
for our economy, and the rest of the work should be 
postponed until better times, until the time when there will 
be surplus personnel. 

5) Every month the Central Statistical Board must submit 
to the Council of Labour and Defence 13 — it must be done 
before it is in the press — preliminary data on key problems 
of the economy (with a compulsory comparison with the 
preceding year). These key problems, key figures, both 
those that go into the "index-number" and those that do 
not, must be worked on immediately. 

Please send me the programme of these questions and the 
reply on other points without delay. 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin), 
Chairman of the Council 
of People's Commissars 






September 1, 1921 

The undated "programme" of work sent to me boils down 
to a request for additional funds. 
We cannot afford it at present. 

The entire programme must, therefore, be cut down in 
such a way as to enable the necessary work to be continued 
(more regularly and completed faster) with the funds at 
present available. 

I suggest that this cut be made at once; while the question 
of additional funds be postponed to approximately Novem- 

I suggest that the programme be cut in such a way as 
to leave (until more funds are available) only the most 
necessary processes. They must include: 

1. Monthly reports on the distribution of food by the 

Forms for obtaining information must be established 
jointly with the People's Commissariat of Food roughly 
as follows: 

a) the number of people receiving bread (I think that as a 
start it would be more prudent to limit the data to bread 
if no personnel is available to add data on all other issued 
products, both foodstuffs and non-foodstuffs) 

1/4 lb each 
1/2 " " 
3/4 " " 

1 " and so forth; 

b) their grades by profession, occupation and so on; 



c) summary: total number of recipients and total quantity 
of bread issued. 

The data for Moscow and Petrograd are the most urgent; 
then for Moscow and Petrograd gubernias, the key industrial 
gubernias (Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Donbas, Baku, the Urals 
and so on) and, lastly, the other gubernias. 

2. Monthly reports on enterprises transferred to collective 

While there are not many of them, all must be kept under 
observation (as you have suggested in your memo, p. 2, 
paragraph 1). Later, when there are very many, inspect 
in detail one-fifth or one-tenth selectively. 

In short — all enterprises on collective supply. 

The reports you require from these enterprises are far too 
sweeping (end of p. 2, paragraph 2). They can and must be 
shorter and show only what is most important. 

3. Current industrial statistics for monthly reports 
must be reduced, with first place given, as absolutely essen- 
tial, to data on the quantity of articles produced, specifi- 
cally on the most important items. 

These data are absolutely necessary every month. 

The rest are not absolutely essential and may be compiled 
not so urgently, as the personnel and funds of the Central 
Statistical Board permit. 

4. Production, distribution and consumption of fuel. 
This must be in the report every month. 

The programme must be drawn up jointly with the Cen- 
tral Fuel Board with as few changes as possible in the forms 
now in operation. 

5. Monthly summaries of commodity exchanges (Commis- 
sariat of Food and the Central Council of Co-operative 
Societies) in the briefest possible form: such-and-such a 
quantity of such-and-such products issued to uyezds in 
exchange for such-and-such a quantity of bread. 

6. As you indicate in Supplement No. 1, paragraph IV, it 
is of course difficult to keep an account of the work of 
Soviet institutions. But difficulty is not impossibility. 
If not monthly reports, then reports once in two or three 
months are absolutely necessary at least, as a start, on 
"available personnel" as compared with the pre-war staff 
or that of other departments, other gubernias and so on, 



with a rational subdivision of all employees into grades 
(responsible posts, purely office workers, service staff — an 
approximate list of certain grades). 

A comparison of the largest and smallest staffs by 
gubernias and so on. First and foremost, for Moscow and 

The decisions of the last Congress of Soviets make it 
obligatory for the Central Statistical Board to tackle the 
statistical study of the work of our Soviet offices, the num- 
ber of employees, and so forth. 14 

7. Selection for study of a small number of typical enter- 
prises (factories, state farms) and institutions — a) the best 
exemplary, b) middling and c) worst. 

Cut down all the rest, except these seven paragraphs. 

Inform me of your conclusion on the substance of the pro- 
gramme of work and the time limit for its compilation. 


Chairman of the Council 
of Labour and Defence 

First published in 1933 

Published according to 
the manuscript 




September 1 

The conversion of Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn into the official 
organ of the Council of Labour and Defence should not be a 
simple and empty formality. 

The paper must become a militant organ that not only, 
first, provides regular and truthful information on our econ- 
omy but, secondly, analyses the information, processes it 
scientifically to arrive at the right conclusions for the man- 
agement of industry, etc., and, thirdly and lastly, tightens 
up the discipline of all workers on the economic front, ensures 
punctuality in reporting, approves good work and exposes 
inaccurate, backward and incompetent workers in a cer- 
tain factory, office, branch of economy, etc., to the judgement 
of all. 

The paper provides a mass of valuable, especially statis- 
tical, material on our economy. That material, however, 
suffers from two faults — it is casual, incomplete, unsystematic 
and, what is more, not processed, not analysed. 

I will give you examples to explain this. 

The article "The Moscow Basin in July" (No. 188) is one 
of the best because it analyses the data, compares them 
with the past and compares the enterprises one with another. 
The analysis, however, is incomplete. There is no explana- 
tion of why one enterprise (the Tovarkovo mines) has solved 
a problem others have not solved. No practical deduction is 
made. There is no comparison with annual data. 

In issue No. 190, on page 2, there is an abundance of 
statistical details, usual for the paper, but they are not 
"digested" at all, they are casual, raw, without a suggestion 



of analysis and are not compared (with the past or with 
other enterprises), etc. 

The following changes must be made if the paper is to 
be the real organ of the Council of Labour and Defence, and 
not its organ in words alone. 

(1) Keep a strict check on unpunctual and incomplete 
reports sent to relevant organisations and publicly list those 
that are inaccurate; at the same time work to ensure (through 
the People's Commissariat concerned or through the 
directorate of the Council of Labour and Defence) precise 

(2) All statistical data must be much more strictly, that 
is, more carefully and thoroughly, systematised, and data 
must be obtained for comparison, always using the data 
for past years (past months, etc.); always select material 
for analysis that will explain the reasons for failure, and will 
make prominent some successfully operating enterprises 
or, at least, those that are ahead of the rest, etc. 

(3) Organise a network of local correspondents, both Com- 
munists and non-Party people; allot greater space to local 
correspondence from factories, mines, state farms, railway 
depots and workshops, etc. 

(4) Publish returns on the most important problems of 
our economy as special supplements. The returns absolutely 
must be processed, with an all-round analysis and practical 

Since we are short of newsprint, we must economise. And 
we probably can. For instance, reduce the number of copies 
from 44,000 to 30,000 (quite enough if correctly distributed, 
allowing two copies to each of 10,000 volosts, four to each 
of 1,000 uyezds, ten to each of 100 gubernias and 5,000 
extra — all of them to go only to libraries, editorial offices and a 
few institutions). That will leave enough newsprint for 
eight supplements, each of two pages, a month. 

That would be sufficient for monthly returns on a large 
number of important points (fuel; industry — two or three 
supplements; transport; food supplies; state farms, etc.). 

These supplements should provide summarised statistics 
on the most important branches of the economy and they 
should be processed and analysed, and practical conclusions 
should be drawn from them. 



The entire statistical material in the daily paper — there 
is a great deal of it but it is fragmentary — should be adjusted 
to the monthly reports and shorn of all details and trivi- 
alities, etc. 

Since, in many cases, Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn and the Cen- 
tral Statistical Board use the same sources, the supplements 
to the newspaper should (for the time being) replace the 
publications of the Central Statistical Board. 

(5) All current statistical material should be divided 
between (a) employees of Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn, (b) mem- 
bers of the State Planning Commission and (c) members or 
employees of the Central Statistical Board in such a way that 
each should be in charge of one branch of the economy, and 
should be responsible for — 

(aa) the timely receipt of reports and summaries; for a 
successful "struggle" to get them; for repeated demands 
for them, etc.; 

(bb) for the summarising and analysis of data, and 

(cc) for practical conclusions. 

(6) Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn must keep track of enterprises 
granted as concessions and those leased, as far as their 
reporting is concerned and also by way of supervision and 
the drawing of conclusions, in the same way as it keeps track 
of all others. 

Please arrange for a conference to include an editor of 
Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn, one member of the Central Statistical 
Board and one member of the State Planning Commission 
to discuss these questions and measures to be taken. Please 
inform me of the decisions of the conference. 


Chairman of the Council of Labour and Defence 

P.S. Will that conference please discuss the question 
of elaborating an index-number* to determine the general 
state of our economy. This index should be published every 

First published Published according to 

on November 6, 1923 in the manuscript 

Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn No. 31 

These words are in English in the original. — Ed. 



The purging of the Party has obviously developed into 
a serious and vastly important affair. 

In some places the Party is being purged mainly with 
the aid of the experience and suggestions of non-Party 
workers; these suggestions and the representatives of the 
non-Party proletarian masses are being needed with due con- 
sideration. That is the most valuable and most important 
thing. If we really succeed in purging our Party from top to 
bottom in this way, without exceptions, it will indeed be 
an enormous achievement for the revolution. 

The achievements of the revolution cannot now be the 
same as they were previously. Their nature inevitably 
changes in conformity with the transition from the war front 
to the economic front, the transition to the New Economic 
Policy, the conditions that primarily demand higher produc- 
tivity of labour, greater labour discipline. At such a time 
improvements at home are the major achievements of the 
revolution; a neither salient, striking, nor immediately 
perceptible improvement in labour, in its organisation and 
results; an improvement from the viewpoint of the fight 
against the influence of the petty-bourgeois and petty-bourge- 
ois-anarchist element, which corrupts both the proletariat 
and the Party. To achieve such an improvement, the Party 
must be purged of those who have lost touch with the masses 
(let alone, of course, those who discredit the Party in the 
eyes of the masses). Naturally, we shall not submit to every 
thing the masses say, because the masses, too, sometimes — 
particularly in time of exceptional weariness and exhaus- 
tion resulting from excessive hardship and suffering — yield 
to sentiments that are in no way advanced. But in appraising 



persons, in the negative attitude to those who have 
"attached" themselves to us for selfish motives, to those who 
have become "puffed-up commissars" and "bureaucrats", 
the suggestions of the non-Party proletarian masses and, in 
many cases, of the non-Party peasant masses, are extremely 
valuable. The working masses have a fine intuition, which 
enables them to distinguish honest and devoted Commu- 
nists from those who arouse the disgust of people earning 
their bread by the sweat of their brow, enjoying no privileges 
and having no "pull". 

To purge the Party it is very important to take the sugges- 
tions of the non-Party working people into consideration. 
It will produce big results. It will make the Party a much 
stronger vanguard of the class than it was before; it will 
make it a vanguard that is more strongly bound up with the 
class, more capable of leading it to victory amidst a mass of 
difficulties and dangers. 

As one of the specific objects of the Party purge, I would 
point to the combing out of ex-Mensheviks. In my opinion, 
of the Mensheviks who joined the Party after the beginning 
of 1918, not more than a hundredth part should be allowed to 
remain; and even then, every one of those who are allowed to 
remain must be tested over and over again. Why? Because, 
as a trend, the Mensheviks have displayed in 1918-21 the 
two qualities that characterise them: first, the ability skilful- 
ly to adapt, to "attach" themselves to the prevailing trend 
among the workers; and second, the ability even more skil- 
fully to serve the whiteguards heart and soul, to serve them 
in action, while dissociating themselves from them in words. 
Both these qualities are the logical outcome of the whole 
history of Menshevism. It is sufficient to recall Axelrod's 
proposal for a "labour congress", 16 the attitude of the Men- 
sheviks towards the Cadets 17 (and to the monarchy) in words 
and action, etc., etc. The Mensheviks "attach" themselves 
to the Russian Communist Party not only and even not so 
much because they are Machiavellian (although ever since 
1903 they have shown that they are past masters in the art 
of bourgeois diplomacy), but because they are so "adaptable". 
Every opportunist is distinguished for his adaptability 
(but not all adaptability is opportunism); and the Menshe- 
viks, as opportunists, adapt themselves "on principle" 



so to speak, to the prevailing trend among the workers and 
assume a protective colouring, just as a hare's coat turns 
white in winter. This characteristic of the Mensheviks must 
be kept in mind and taken into account. And taking it into 
account means purging the Party of approximately 
ninety-nine out of every hundred Mensheviks who joined the 
Russian Communist Party after 1918, i.e., when the victory 
of the Bolsheviks first became probable and then certain. 

The Party must be purged of rascals, of bureaucratic, 
dishonest or wavering Communists, and of Mensheviks who 
have repainted their "facade" but who have remained Men- 
sheviks at heart. 

September 20, 1921 

Pravda No. 210, September 21, 1921 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 




It is more the duty of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspec- 
tion to be able to improve things than to merely "detect" 
and "expose" (that is the function of the courts with which 
the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection is in close contact 
but with which it is not to be identified). 

Timely and skilful rectification — this is the prime func- 
tion of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection. 

To be able to correct it is necessary, first, to make a 
complete study of the methods by which the affairs of a 
given office, factory, department, and so forth, are con- 
ducted; second, to introduce in good time the necessary 
practical changes and to see that they are actually put 
into effect. 

There is much that is similar, basically similar, in the 
methods by which the affairs of different and diverse facto- 
ries, institutions, departments, etc., are conducted. The 
function of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection is to 
train, on the basis of practical inspection work, a group 
of leading, experienced and well-informed persons, who 
would be capable of presenting problems (for the skilful 
and correct presentation of problems in itself predetermines 
the success of an investigation and makes it possible to 
rectify mistakes); to direct investigations or inspections 
to see that improvements are introduced, and so forth. 

The proper organisation of accounting and reporting, 
for example, is a fundamental function of all departments 
and offices of the most diverse types. The Workers' and 



Peasants' Inspection should study and make itself thor- 
oughly familiar with this; it should be able to investigate 
at the shortest notice (by sending a man to a given office 
for half an hour or an hour) whether a system of account- 
ing exists and, if so, whether it is properly organised, what 
defects there are in the system, how these defects may be 
eliminated, etc. 

The Workers' and Peasants' Inspection should study, 
analyse and summarise the methods of accounting, the 
penalties for inefficiency, the methods of "detecting" 
fraud, and the methods of executive control. It should 
have a list of offices, departments and gubernias where the 
system of accounting is tolerably well organised. There 
will be nothing tragic if these constitute one in a hundred, 
or even one in a thousand, as long as systematic, undeviat- 
ing, persistent and unflagging efforts are made to enlarge 
the sphere where proper methods are employed. The Work- 
ers' and Peasants' Inspection should have a chronological 
table showing what progress is being made in these efforts, 
the successes and reverses. 

Acquaintance with the preliminary draft of the report 
on the work of the fuel supply organisations and on the 
growing crisis (fuel) in the autumn of 1921, makes me feel 
that basically the work of the Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection is not organised on proper lines. This draft 
report contains neither evidence that the subject has been 
studied, nor even a hint at suggestions for improvement. 

For example, a comparison is made between a three-week 
period in 1921 and a similar period in 1920. Bare totals 
are taken. It is wrong to make such a comparison, because 
allowances are not made for (1) the difference in the food 
supply (in the spring of 1921 and throughout the first half 
of that year special conditions prevailed as a consequence 
of the transition to the tax in kind), or for (2) the crop 
failure in 1921. 

Danishevsky states that the gubernias that were unaffect- 
ed by the crop failure fulfilled their three-week programme 
in 1921 over one hundred per cent; the affected gubernias 
fell very short of fulfilment. 



There is no evidence in the report that the subject has 
been studied. 

The defects in accounting employed at the Central Tim- 
ber Board are, evidently, correctly pointed out in the 
preliminary report of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspec- 
tion. Danishevsky admits it. It has been proved. The 
methods of accounting are faulty. 

But it is exactly on this fundamental question that 
the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection cannot, in its pre- 
liminary report, confine itself to the "thesis" that "account- 
ing is faulty, that there is no accounting". What have 
the comrades of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection 
done to improve those methods? In the winter and spring 
of 1921 many prominent officials of the Workers' and 
Peasants' Inspection personally took part in a vast number 
of conferences and commissions on the fuel crisis. In the 
spring of 1921 (I think it was in March 1921) a new chief 
was appointed to the Central Timber Board. Consequently, 
new methods of accounting should have been introduced in it 
in March 1921. 

Danishevsky did that; but he did it unsatisfactorily. 
His methods of accounting are faulty. He is to blame, 

But to find the guilty party in the person of the chief 
is only a very minor part of the task. 

Has the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection carried out 
its task and done its duty? Does it properly understand its 
task 1 ? That is the main question. The reply to this must be 

Knowing the critical fuel situation, knowing that fire- 
wood is the most important, knowing that under the former 
Director of the Central Timber Board (Lomov) accounting 
was bad, the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection, 

in March 1921, should have officially 
advised them in writing: organ- 
ise your accounting in such- 
and-such a way; 
in April 1921, it should have inves- 
tigated how the new Director 
(Danishevsky) had organised 
accounting and should have 



again officially advised them 
in writing: introduce the fol- 
lowing changes, otherwise 
things will not run smoothly; 
in May 1921, it should have inves- 
tigated again; 
and so forth, month after month, 
until accounting had been tolerably well organised. 

In the spring of 1921, the Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection should have appointed a definite inspector (a 
single person is better than a "department", although in 
practice it is probable that the Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection has a whole "department" for auditing and 
inspecting matters concerning firewood and fuel in general) 
to keep his eye on accounting at the Central Timber Board, 
to study it and to report every month to a definite member 
of the Collegium, or else submit a monthly return (giving 
a list of gubernias in which accounting is tolerably well 
organised, in which there is no accounting, and so on. 
What measures have been taken? by the Central Committee 
of the Russian Communist Party? by the All-Russia Central 
Executive Committee? What results?). 

Danishevsky is to blame for the bad organisation of 

The Workers' and Peasants' Inspection, i.e., the par- 
ticular responsible auditor or inspector, etc., whose name 
I do not know, is guilty of failing to perform his duty 
as from March 1921. 

The practical, business-like, non-bureaucratic question is: 
How can accounting at the Central Timber Board be improved? 

Failing to find an answer to this (extremely important) 
question in the preliminary report of the Workers' and 
Peasants' Inspection — whose duty it was to provide the 
answer — I am seeking for an answer myself; but I may 
easily go wrong, for I have not studied the subject. My 
proposals are the following, and I will gladly amend them 
if better ones are suggested: 

(1) introduce a system of accounting (once a fortnight) 
not by post, as hitherto, but by wire; 

(2) draw up for this purpose a sort of "code" consisting 
of seven to nine figures and letters so as to be able in a 



few lines to give total figures (of the amount of timber 
felled, in cubic sazhens 19 ; the amount carted; the amount 
of grain, fodder, etc., received and issued); 

(3) give Danishevsky legal authority to arrest any per- 
son who fails to send in reports punctually 

or (if that is impossible, if it does not go through 
for some reason) apply to the Presidium of the All-Russia 
Central Executive Committee for a warrant to arrest any 
person who fails to send in reports; the Central Committee 
of the Russian Communist Party to issue instructions 
accordingly; verify fulfilment; 

(4) methods of personal and direct inspection on the 
spot: Is this being practised? How? What are the diffi- 

Danishevsky says that he has appointed travelling 
inspectors all over Russia, and that these have already 
visited all the gubernias; that they have delved down to 
the lowest units, are tightening things up, and in many 
gubernias have already succeeded in tightening things up. 

Is that true? Is not Danishevsky being misled by his 

Very probably he is. 

But what about the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection? 
It should go into the matter and ascertain the facts. There 
is not a word about this in the preliminary report. When 
were the travelling inspectors appointed? How many? 
What is their standard of efficiency? What are the results 
of their activities? How can matters be improved if they 
are not satisfactory? These are the essentials; but it is 
just these essentials that the inspector of the Workers' 
and Peasants' Inspection is silent about. 

I repeat: the organisation of a system of accounting 
is the fundamental problem. It has not been studied by 
the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection, which has not 
fulfilled — and evidently does not understand — its task, 
which is to investigate the methods of accounting and to 
strive for and secure an improvement. 

It must be able, through the All-Russia 
Central Executive Committee, through the Cen- 
tral Committee of the Russian Communist 
Party, through every possible channel, to 



"bring the matter" before the highest bodies, 
Party and Soviet, and to secure an improve- 
ment in the system of accounting. 

I have dealt at length with the most important (and 
simplest) question, viz., the system of accounting; but 
there are other important and more complicated questions, 
as, for example, contract work (executive control, account- 
ing, etc.), and so forth. 

One particularly interesting question is broached in 
the preliminary report, but only broached and not dealt 
with in a business-like fashion. Namely, the author of 
the preliminary report writes: "The responsible leaders 
are so overwhelmed with work that they are on the verge 
of exhaustion, while the technical staffs of the subordi- 
nate organisations" (organisations subordinated to the 
Central Fuel Board — the Central Coal Board, the Central 
Timber Board, etc.) "are full of idle employees.'" 

I am sure that this is a valuable and absolutely correct 
observation, and that it applies not only to the Central 
Fuel Board, but to all or ninety-nine per cent of the offices and 

That evil is to be found everywhere. 

In March, when the (new) organisation was being set 
up, or at the latest in April, when it had already been set 
up, the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection should have 
made the official proposal in writing: 

improve matters in such-and-such a way. 

That was not done. 

How can the evil be eliminated? 

I haven't the faintest idea. The Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection should know, because it is its business to study 
the subject, compare different departments, make practical 
proposals, see how they work out in practice, etc. 

When I say "Workers' and Peasants' Inspection" I mean 
primarily the author of this preliminary report; but I am 
perfectly well aware that it applies not only to this author. 

Several absolutely conscientious, capable and expe- 
rienced officials of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection 
should be chosen, if only two or three (I am sure that that 
number can be found), and instructed to draw up a rational 
plan of work for inspectors, beginning at least with the 



system of accounting. It is better to start with a small job 
and finish it. 

The author of the preliminary report touches upon a 
host of subjects, but not one of them has been studied; 
they have been hastily jumbled together and the whole 
thing is pointless. This is simply playing at "parliamentary 
reports". It is of no use to us. What we need is actual 

How inadequately the subjects have been studied can be 
seen, for example, from question 52 (39): make a special 
list of exemplary mines only. That is exactly the conclu- 
sion the commission of the Council of Labour and Defence 
(Smilga and Ramzin) arrived at after visiting the Donets 
Basin in September 1921. It is exactly the conclusion 
that the State Planning Commission arrived at. 

Why do I know about the work of the State Planning 
Commission and of Smilga's commission, while the special 
inspector who sat down to draw up a report on the Central 
Fuel Board does not know about it? 

Because the work is not properly organised. 

To sum up, I make the following practical proposals: 

(1) make a special feature of at least the question of 
properly organising accounting and pursue it to the end; 

(2) appoint definite persons for this job and send me 
their names; 

(3) send me the name of the inspector in charge of Timber 
Board affairs. 


September 27, 1921 

First published on February 6, 1927 
in Pravda No. 30 

Published according to 
the manuscript 

'st page of Lenin's manuscript 

"Fourth Anniversary 
of the October Revolution", 
October 14, 1921 



I regret very much that I am unable to greet your Congress 
in person. 

I have on more than one occasion expressed my opinion 
on the importance of the book A Plan for Electrification 
and still more so of electrification itself. Large-scale machine 
industry and its extension to agriculture is the only pos- 
sible economic basis for socialism, the only possible basis 
for a successful struggle to deliver mankind from the yoke 
of capital, to save mankind from the slaughter and mutila- 
tion of tens of millions of people in order to decide whether 
the British or German, the Japanese or American, etc., 
vultures are to have the advantage in dividing up the 

The Workers' and Peasants' Soviet Republic has ini- 
tiated the planned and systematic electrification of the 
country. However meagre and modest the beginning may 
be, however enormous the difficulties may be for the coun- 
try which the landowners and capitalists have reduced to 
ruin in the course of four years of imperialist war and three 
years of civil war, and which the bourgeoisie of the whole 
world is watching, ready to pounce upon and convert into 
their colony, however slow, painfully slow, the progress in 
the electrification of our country may be, progress is never- 
theless being made. With the assistance of your Congress, 
with the assistance of all the electrical engineers in Russia, 
and of a number of the best and progressive scientists in 
all parts of the world, by the heroic efforts of the vanguard 



of the workers and working peasants, we shall cope with 
this task, and our country will be electrified. 

I greet the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Electrical 
Engineers and wish you every success. 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin), 
Chairman of the Council of People's 


Written on October 8, 1921 

Published on October 11, 1921 
in the Bulleten VIII Vserossiiskogo 
elektrotekhnicheskogo syezdu (Bulle- 
tin of the 8th All-Russia Congress 

of Electrical Engineers) No. 3 

Published according to 
the manuscript 



The fourth anniversary of October 25 (November 7) is 

The farther that great day recedes from us, the more 
clearly we see the significance of the proletarian revolution 
in Russia, and the more deeply we reflect upon the practical 
experience of our work as a whole. 

Very briefly and, of course, in very incomplete and 
rough outline, this significance and experience may be 
summed up as follows. 

The direct and immediate object of the revolution in 
Russia was a bourgeois-democratic one, namely, to destroy 
the survivals of medievalism and sweep them away com- 
pletely, to purge Russia of this barbarism, of this shame, 
and to remove this immense obstacle to all culture and 
progress in our country. 

And we can justifiably pride ourselves on having carried 
out that purge with greater determination and much more 
rapidly, boldly and successfully, and, from the point of 
view of its effect on the masses, much more widely and 
deeply, than the great French Revolution over one hundred 
and twenty-five years ago. 

Both the anarchists and the petty-bourgeois democrats 
(i.e., the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries, 
who are the Russian counterparts of that international 
social type) have talked and are still talking an incredible 
lot of nonsense about the relation between the bour- 
geois-democratic revolution and the socialist {that is, 
proletarian) revolution. The last four years have proved 
to the hilt that our interpretation of Marxism on this point, 
and our estimate of the experience of former revolutions 
were correct. We have consummated the bourgeois- 
democratic revolution as nobody had done before. We are 



advancing towards the socialist revolution consciously, firmly 
and unswervingly, knowing that it is not separated from 
the bourgeois-democratic revolution by a Chinese Wall, 
and knowing too that (in the last analysis) struggle alone 
will determine how far we shall advance, what part of 
this immense and lofty task we shall accomplish, and to 
what extent we shall succeed in consolidating our victo- 
ries. Time will show. But we see even now that a tremen- 
dous amount — tremendous for this ruined, exhausted and 
backward country — has already been done towards the 
socialist transformation of society. 

Let us, however, finish what we have to say about the 
bourgeois-democratic content of our revolution. Marxists 
must understand what that means. To explain, let us take 
a few striking examples. 

The bourgeois-democratic content of the revolution 
means that the social relations (system, institutions) of 
the country are purged of medievalism, serfdom, feudalism. 

What were the chief manifestations, survivals, remnants 
of serfdom in Russia up to 1917? The monarchy, the system 
of social estates, landed proprietorship and land tenure, 
the status of women, religion, and national oppression. 
Take any one of these Augean stables, which, incidentally, 
were left largely uncleansed by all the more advanced 
states when they accomplished their bourgeois-democratic 
revolutions one hundred and twenty-five, two hundred and 
fifty and more years ago (1649 in England); take any of 
these Augean stables, and you will see that we have cleansed 
them thoroughly. In a matter of ten weeks, from October 25 
(November 7), 1917 to January 5, 1918, when the Constituent 
Assembly was dissolved, we accomplished a thousand 
times more in this respect than was accomplished by the 
bourgeois democrats and liberals (the Cadets) and by the 
petty-bourgeois democrats (the Mensheviks and the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries) during the eight months they were in power. 

Those poltroons, gas-bags, vainglorious Narcissuses and 
petty Hamlets brandished their wooden swords — but did 
not even destroy the monarchy! We cleansed out all that 
monarchist muck as nobody had ever done before. We 
left not a stone, not a brick of that ancient edifice, the 
social-estate system even the most advanced countries, 


such as Britain, France and Germany, have not completely 
eliminated the survivals of that system to this day!), stand- 
ing. We tore out the deep-seated roots of the social-estate 
system, namely, the remnants of feudalism and serfdom in 
the system of landownership, to the last. "One may argue" 
(there are plenty of quill-drivers, Cadets, Mensheviks and 
Socialist-Revolutionaries abroad to indulge in such argu- 
ments) as to what "in the long run" will be the outcome of 
the agrarian reform effected by the Great October Revo- 
lution. We have no desire at the moment to waste time 
on such controversies, for we are deciding this, as well as 
the mass of accompanying controversies, by struggle. But 
the fact cannot be denied that the petty-bourgeois demo- 
crats "compromised" with the landowners, the custodians 
of the traditions of serfdom, for eight months, while we 
completely swept the landowners and all their traditions 
from Russian soil in a few weeks. 

Take religion, or the denial of rights to women, or the 
oppression and inequality of the non-Russian nationali- 
ties. These are all problems of the bourgeois-democratic 
revolution. The vulgar petty-bourgeois democrats talked 
about them for eight months. In not a single one of the 
most advanced countries in the world have these questions 
been completely settled on bourgeois-democratic lines. In 
our country they have been settled completely by the 
legislation of the October Revolution. We have fought 
and are fighting religion in earnest. We have granted all 
the non-Russian nationalities their own republics or auto- 
nomous regions. We in Russia no longer have the base, 
mean and infamous denial of rights to women or inequality 
of the sexes, that disgusting survival of feudalism and 
medievalism, which is being renovated by the avaricious 
bourgeoisie and the dull-witted and frightened petty bour- 
geoisie in every other country in the world without exception. 

All this goes to make up the content of the bourgeois- 
democratic revolution. A hundred and fifty and two hun- 
dred and fifty years ago the progressive leaders of that 
revolution (or of those revolutions, if we consider each 
national variety of the one general type) promised to rid 
mankind of medieval privileges, of sex inequality, of state 
privileges for one religion or another (or "religious ideas", 



"the church" in general), and of national inequality. They 
promised, but did not keep their promises. They could 
not keep them, for they were hindered by their "respect" — 
for the "sacred right of private property". Our proletarian 
revolution was not afflicted with this accursed "respect" 
for this thrice-accursed medievalism and for the "sacred 
right of private property". 

But in order to consolidate the achievements of the 
bourgeois-democratic revolution for the peoples of Russia, 
we were obliged to go farther; and we did go farther. We 
solved the problems of the bourgeois-democratic revolution 
in passing, as a "by-product" of our main and genuinely 
proletarian-revolutionary, socialist activities. We have 
always said that reforms are a by-product of the revolu- 
tionary class struggle. We said — and proved it by deeds — 
that bourgeois-democratic reforms are a by-product of the 
proletarian, i.e., of the socialist revolution. Incidentally, 
the Kautskys, Hilferdings, Martovs, Chernovs, Hillquits, 
Longuets, MacDonalds, Turatis and other heroes of "Two- 
and-a-Half" Marxism were incapable of understanding this 
relation between the bourgeois-democratic and the prole- 
tarian-socialist revolutions. The first develops into the 
second. The second, in passing, solves the problems of the 
first. The second consolidates the work of the first. Struggle, 
and struggle alone, decides how far the second succeeds 
in outgrowing the first. 

The Soviet system is one of the most vivid proofs, or 
manifestations, of how the one revolution develops into 
the other. The Soviet system provides the maximum of 
democracy for the workers and peasants; at the same time, 
it marks a break with bourgeois democracy and the rise of 
a new, epoch-making type of democracy, namely, proleta- 
rian democracy, or the dictatorship of the proletariat. 

Let the curs and swine of the moribund bourgeoisie and 
of the petty-bourgeois democrats who trail behind them heap 
imprecations, abuse and derision upon our heads for our 
reverses and mistakes in the work of building up our Soviet 
system. We do not forget for a moment that we have com- 
mitted and are committing numerous mistakes and are 
suffering numerous reverses. How can reverses and mistakes 
be avoided in a matter so new in the history of the world 

as the building of an unprecedented type of state edifice! 
We shall work steadfastly to set our reverses and mistakes 
right and to improve our practical application of Soviet 
principles, which is still very, very far from being perfect. 
But we have a right to be and are proud that to us has 
fallen the good fortune to begin the building of a Soviet 
state, and thereby to usher in a new era in world history, 
the era of the rule of a new class, a class which is oppressed 
in every capitalist country, but which everywhere is march- 
ing forward towards a new life, towards victory over the 
bourgeoisie, towards the dictatorship of the proletariat, 
towards the emancipation of mankind from the yoke of 
capital and from imperialist wars. 

The question of imperialist wars, of the international 
policy of finance capital which now dominates the whole 
world, a policy that must inevitably engender new imperial- 
ist wars, that must inevitably cause an extreme intensi- 
fication of national oppression, pillage, brigandry and the 
strangulation of weak, backward and small nationalities 
by a handful of "advanced" powers — that question has 
been the keystone of all policy in all the countries of the 
globe since 1914. It is a question of life and death for mil- 
lions upon millions of people. It is a question of whether 
20,000,000 people (as compared with the 10,000,000 who 
were killed in the war of 1914-18 and in the supplementary 
"minor" wars that are still going on) are to be slaughtered 
in the next imperialist war, which the bourgeoisie are 
preparing, and which is growing out of capitalism before 
our very eyes. It is a question of whether in that future 
war, which is inevitable (if capitalism continues to exist), 
60,000,000 people are to be maimed (compared with the 
30,000,000 maimed in 1914-18). In this question, too, our 
October Revolution marked the beginning of a new era 
in world history. The lackeys of the bourgeoisie and its 
yes-men — the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Menshe- 
viks, and the petty-bourgeois, allegedly "socialist", demo- 
crats all over the world — derided our slogan "convert the 
imperialist war into a civil war". But that slogan proved 
to be the truth — it was the only truth, unpleasant, blunt, 
naked and brutal, but nevertheless the truth, as against 
the host of most refined jingoist and pacifist lies. Those 



lies are being dispelled. The Brest peace has been exposed. 
And with every passing day the significance and conse- 
quences of a peace that is even worse than the Brest peace — 
the peace of Versailles — are being more relentlessly exposed. 
And the millions who are thinking about the causes of 
the recent war and of the approaching future war are 
more and more clearly realising the grim and inexorable 
truth that it is impossible to escape imperialist war, and 
imperialist peace (if the old orthography were still in use, I 
would have written the word mir in two ways, to give it 
both its meanings)* which inevitably engenders impe- 
rialist war, that it is impossible to escape that inferno, 
except by a Bolshevik struggle and a Bolshevik revolution. 

Let the bourgeoisie and the pacifists, the generals and 
the petty bourgeoisie, the capitalists and the philistines, 
the pious Christians and the knights of the Second and the 
Two-and-a-Half Internationals vent their fury against that 
revolution. No torrents of abuse, calumnies and lies can 
enable them to conceal the historic fact that for the first time in 
time in hundreds and thousands of years the slaves have 
replied to a war between slave-owners by openly proclaim- 
ing the slogan: "Convert this war between slave-owners for 
the division of their loot into a war of the slaves of all 
nations against the slave-owners of all nations." 

For the first time in hundreds and thousands of years 
that slogan has grown from a vague and helpless waiting 
into a clear and definite political programme, into an 
effective struggle waged by millions of oppressed people 
under the leadership of the proletariat; it has grown into 
the first victory of the proletariat, the first victory in the 
struggle to abolish war and to unite the workers of all 
countries against the united bourgeoisie of different nations, 
against the bourgeoisie that makes peace and war at the 
expense of the slaves of capital, the wage-workers, the 
peasants, the working people. 

This first victory is not yet the final victory, and it was 
achieved by our October Revolution at the price of incred- 
ible difficulties and hardships, at the price of unprece- 
dented suffering, accompanied by a series of serious reverses 

* In Russian, the word mir has two meanings (world and peace) and 
had two different spellings in the old orthography. — Tr. 

and mistakes on our part. How could a single backward 
people be expected to frustrate the imperialist wars of the 
most powerful and most developed countries of the world 
without sustaining reverses and without committing mis- 
takes! We are not afraid to admit our mistakes and shall 
examine them dispassionately in order to learn how to 
correct them. But the fact remains that for the first time 
in hundreds and thousands of years the promise "to reply" 
to war between the slave-owners by a revolution of the 
slaves directed against all the slave-owners has been com- 
pletely fulfilled — and is being fulfilled despite all diffi- 

We have made the start. When, at what date and time, 
and the proletarians of which nation will complete this 
process is not important. The important thing is that the ice 
has been broken; the road is open, the way has been shown. 

Gentlemen, capitalists of all countries, keep up your 
hypocritical pretence of "defending the fatherland" — the 
Japanese fatherland against the American, the American 
against the Japanese, the French against the British, and 
so forth! Gentlemen, knights of the Second and Two-and- 
a-Half Internationals, pacifist petty bourgeoisie and phi- 
listines of the entire world, go on "evading" the question 
of how to combat imperialist wars by issuing new "Basle 
Manifestos" (on the model of the Basle Manifesto of 1912 21 ). 
The first Bolshevik revolution has wrested the first hundred 
million people of this earth from the clutches of imperial- 
ist war and the imperialist world. Subsequent revolutions 
will deliver the rest of mankind from such wars and from 
such a world. 

Our last, but most important and most difficult task, 
the one we have done least about, is economic development, 
the laying of economic foundations for the new, socialist 
edifice on the site of the demolished feudal edifice and the 
semi-demolished capitalist edifice. It is in this most 
important and most difficult task that we have sustained 
the greatest number of reverses and have made most mis- 
takes. How could anyone expect that a task so new to the 
world could be begun without reverses and without mis- 
takes! But we have begun it. We shall continue it. At this 
very moment we are, by our New Economic Policy, correct- 



ing a number of our mistakes. We are learning how to 
continue erecting the socialist edifice in a small-peasant 
country without committing such mistakes. 

The difficulties are immense. But we are accustomed 
to grappling with immense difficulties. Not for nothing do 
our enemies call us "stone-hard" and exponents of a "firm- 
line policy". But we have also learned, at least to some 
extent, another art that is essential in revolution, namely, 
flexibility, the ability to effect swift and sudden changes 
of tactics if changes in objective conditions demand them, 
and to choose another path for the achievement of our goal 
if the former path proves to be inexpedient or impossible 
at the given moment. 

Borne along on the crest of the wave of enthusiasm, 
rousing first the political enthusiasm and then the military 
enthusiasm of the people, we expected to accomplish eco- 
nomic tasks just as great as the political and military 
tasks we had accomplished by relying directly on this 
enthusiasm. We expected — or perhaps it would be truer 
to say that we presumed without having given it adequate 
consideration — to be able to organise the state production 
and the state distribution of products on communist lines 
in a small-peasant country directly as ordered by the pro- 
letarian state. Experience has proved that we were wrong. 
It appears that a number of transitional stages were neces- 
sary — state capitalism and socialism — in order to prepare — 
to prepare by many years of effort — for the transition to 
communism. Not directly relying on enthusiasm, but aided 
by the enthusiasm engendered by the great revolution, and 
on the basis of personal interest, personal incentive and 
business principles, we must first set to work in this small- 
peasant country to build solid gangways to socialism by 
way of state capitalism. Otherwise we shall never get to 
communism, we shall never bring scores of millions of 
people to communism. That is what experience, the objec- 
tive course of the development of the revolution, has 
taught us. 

And we, who during these three or four years have learned 
a little to make abrupt changes of front (when abrupt 
changes of front are needed), have begun zealously, atten- 
tively and sedulously (although still not zealously, 


attentively and sedulously enough) to learn to make a new 
change of front, namely, the New Economic Policy. The 
proletarian state must become a cautious, assiduous and 
shrewd "businessman", a punctilious wholesale merchant — 
otherwise it will never succeed in putting this small-peasant 
country economically on its feet. Under existing condi- 
tions, living as we are side by side with the capitalist 
(for the time being capitalist) West, there is no other way 
of progressing to communism. A wholesale merchant seems 
to be an economic type as remote from communism as 
heaven from earth. But that is one of the contradictions 
which, in actual life, lead from a small-peasant economy 
via state capitalism to socialism. Personal incentive will 
step up production; we must increase production first and 
foremost and at all costs. Wholesale trade economically 
unites millions of small peasants: it gives them a personal 
incentive, links them up and leads them to the next step, 
namely, to various forms of association and alliance in 
the process of production itself. We have already started 
the necessary changes in our economic policy and already 
have some successes to our credit; true, they are small 
and partial, but nonetheless they are successes. In this 
new field of "tuition" we are already finishing our prepar- 
atory class. By persistent and assiduous study, by making 
practical experience the test of every step we take, by not 
fearing to alter over and over again what we have already 
begun, by correcting our mistakes and most carefully 
analysing their significance, we shall pass to the higher 
classes. We shall go through the whole "course", although 
the present state of world economics and world politics 
has made that course much longer and much more diffi- 
cult than we would have liked. No matter at what cost, 
no matter how severe the hardships of the transition period 
may be — despite disaster, famine and ruin — we shall not 
flinch; we shall triumphantly carry our cause to its goal. 

October 14, 1921 

Pravda No. 234, 
October 18, 1921 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according to 
the manuscript 



OCTOBER 17, 1921 22 

Comrades, I intend to devote this report, or rather talk, 
to the New Economic Policy, and to the tasks of the Polit- 
ical Education Departments arising out of this policy, 
as I understand them. I think it would be quite wrong 
to limit reports on questions that do not come within the 
scope of a given congress to bare information about what is 
going on generally in the Party or in the Soviet Republic. 


While I do not in the least deny the value of such 
information and the usefulness of conferences on all questions, 
I nevertheless find that the main defect in the proceedings 
of most of our congresses is that they are not directly and 
immediately connected with the practical problems before 
them. These are the defects that I should like to speak 
about both in connection with and in respect of the New 
Economic Policy. 

I shall speak about the Now Economic Policy briefly 
and in general terms. Comrades, the overwhelming majority 
of you are Communists, and although some of you are very 
young, you have worked magnificently to carry out our 
general policy in the first years of our revolution. Having 
done a large part of this work you cannot help seeing the 
abrupt change made by our Soviet government and our 


Communist Party in adopting the economic policy which 
we call "new", new, that is, in respect of our previous 
economic policy. 

In substance, however, this new policy contains more 
elements of the old than our previous economic policy did. 

Why? Because our previous economic policy, if we cannot 
say counted on (in the situation then prevailing we did 
little counting in general), then to a certain degree 
assumed — we may say uncalculatingly assumed — that there 
would be a direct transition from the old Russian economy 
to state production and distribution on communist lines. 

If we recall the economic literature that we ourselves 
issued in the past, if we recall what Communists wrote 
before and very soon after we took power in Russia — for 
example, in the beginning of 1918, when the first polit- 
ical assault upon old Russia ended in a smashing victory, 
when the Soviet Republic was created, when Russia emerged 
from the imperialist war, mutilated, it is true, but not 
so mutilated as she would have been had she continued 
to "defend the fatherland" as she was advised to do by 
the imperialists, the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries — if we recall all this we shall understand that in 
the initial period, when we had only just completed the 
first stage in the work of building up the Soviet govern- 
ment and had only just emerged from the imperialist war, 
what we said about our tasks in the field of economic devel- 
opment was much more cautious and circumspect than 
our actions in the latter half of 1918 and throughout 1919 
and 1920. 


Even if all of you were not yet active workers in the 
Party and the Soviets at that time, you have at all events 
been able to make, and of course have made, yourselves 
familiar with decisions such as that adopted by the All- 
Russia Central Executive Committee at the end of April 
1918. 23 That decision pointed to the necessity to take peas- 
ant farming into consideration, and it was based on a 



report which made allowance for the role of state 
capitalism in building socialism in a peasant country; a 
report which emphasised the importance of personal, indivi- 
dual, one-man responsibility; which emphasised the signifi- 
cance of that factor in the administration of the country 
as distinct from the political tasks of organising state 
power and from military tasks. 


At the beginning of 1918 we expected a period in which 
peaceful construction would be possible. When the Brest 
peace was signed it seemed that danger had subsided for 
a time and that it would be possible to start peaceful con- 
struction. But we were mistaken, because in 1918 a real 
military danger overtook us in the shape of the Czechoslo- 
vak mutiny and the outbreak of civil war, which dragged 
on until 1920. Partly owing to the war problems that over- 
whelmed us and partly owing to the desperate position 
in which the Republic found itself when the imperialist 
war ended — owing to these circumstances, and a number 
of others, we made the mistake of deciding to go over 
directly to communist production and distribution. We 
thought that under the surplus-food appropriation system 
the peasants would provide us with the required quantity 
of grain, which we could distribute among the factories 
and thus achieve communist production and distribution. 

I cannot say that we pictured this plan as definitely 
and as clearly as that; but we acted approximately on 
those lines. That, unfortunately, is a fact. I say unfortu- 
nately, because brief experience convinced us that that 
line was wrong, that it ran counter to what we had previous- 
ly written about the transition from capitalism to social- 
ism, namely, that it would be impossible to bypass the 
period of socialist accounting and control in approaching 
even the lower stage of communism. Ever since 1917, 
when the problem of taking power arose and the Bolshe- 
viks explained it to the whole people, our theoretical 
literature has been definitely stressing the necessity for 
a prolonged, complex transition through socialist account- 


ing and control from capitalist society (and the less devel- 
oped it is the longer the transition will take) to even one 
of the approaches to communist society. 


At that time, when in the heat of the Civil War we had 
to take the necessary steps in economic organisation, it 
seemed to have been forgotten. In substance, our New 
Economic Policy signifies that, having sustained severe 
defeat on this point, we have started a strategical retreat. 
We said in effect: "Before we are completely routed, let 
us retreat and reorganise everything, but on a firmer basis." 
If Communists deliberately examine the question of the 
New Economic Policy there cannot be the slightest doubt 
in their minds that we have sustained a very severe defeat 
on the economic front. In the circumstances it is inevitable, 
of course, for some people to become very despondent, 
almost panic-stricken, and because of the retreat, these 
people will begin to give way to panic. That is inevitable. 
When the Red Army retreated, was its flight from the 
enemy not the prelude to its victory? Every retreat on 
every front, however, caused some people to give way to 
panic for a time. But on each occasion — on the Kolchak 
front, on the Denikin front, on the Yudenich front, on the 
Polish front and on the Wrangel front — once we had been 
badly battered (and sometimes more than once) we proved 
the truth of the proverb: "A man who has been beaten is 
worth two who haven't." After being beaten we began to 
advance slowly, systematically and cautiously. 

Of course, tasks on the economic front are much more 
difficult than tasks on the war front, although there is 
a general similarity between the two elementary outlines 
of strategy. In attempting to go over straight to communism 
we, in the spring of 1921, sustained a more serious defeat 
on the economic front than any defeat inflicted upon us 
by Kolchak, Denikin or Pilsudski. This defeat was much 
more serious, significant and dangerous. It was expressed 
in the isolation of the higher administrators of our economic 
policy from the lower and their failure to produce that 



development of the productive forces which the Programme 
of our Party regards as vital and urgent. 

The surplus-food appropriation system in the rural 
districts — this direct communist approach to the problem 
of urban development — hindered the growth of the 
productive forces and proved to be the main cause of the 
profound economic and political crisis that we experienced 
in the spring of 1921. That was why we had to take a step 
which from the point of view of our line, of our policy, 
cannot be called anything else than a very severe defeat 
and retreat. Moreover, it cannot be said that this retreat 
is — like retreats of the Red Army — a completely orderly 
retreat to previously prepared positions. True, the posi- 
tions for our present retreat were prepared beforehand. 
That can be proved by comparing the decisions adopted 
by our Party in the spring of 1921 with the one adopted 
in April 1918, which I have mentioned. The positions 
were prepared beforehand; but the retreat to these posi- 
tions took place (and is still taking place in many parts 
of the country) in disorder, and even in extreme disorder. 


It is here that the task of the Political Education Depart- 
ments to combat this comes to the forefront. The main 
problem in the light of the New Economic Policy is to 
take advantage of the situation that has arisen as speedily 
as possible. 

The New Economic Policy means substituting a tax 
for the requisitioning of food; it means reverting to capi- 
talism to a considerable extent — to what extent we do not 
know. Concessions to foreign capitalists (true, only very 
few have been accepted, especially when compared with 
the number we have offered) and leasing enterprises to 
private capitalists definitely mean restoring capitalism, 
and this is part and parcel of the New Economic Policy; 
for the abolition of the surplus-food appropriation system 
means allowing the peasants to trade freely in their sur- 
plus agricultural produce, in whatever is left over after 
the tax is collected — and the tax takes only a small share 


of that produce. The peasants constitute a huge section 
of our population and of our entire economy, and that is 
why capitalism must grow out of this soil of free trading. 

That is the very ABC of economics as taught by the rudi- 
ments of that science, and in Russia taught, furthermore, 
by the profiteer, the creature who needs no economic or 
political science to teach us economics with. From the 
point of view of strategy the root question is: who will 
take advantage of the new situation first? The whole ques- 
tion is — whom will the peasantry follow? The proletariat, 
which wants to build socialist society? Or the capitalist, 
who says, "Let us turn back; it is safer that way; we don't 
know anything about this socialism they have invented"? 


The issue in the present war is — who will win, who will 
first take advantage of the situation: the capitalist, whom 
we are allowing to come in by the door, and even by several 
doors (and by many doors we are not aware of, and which 
open without us, and in spite of us), or proletarian state 
power? What has the latter to rely on economically? On 
the one hand, the improved position of the people. In 
this connection we must remember the peasants. It is abso- 
lutely incontrovertible and obvious to all that in spite of 
the awful disaster of the famine — and leaving that disaster 
out of the reckoning for the moment — the improvement 
that has taken place in the position of the people has been 
due to the change in our economic policy. 

On the other hand, if capitalism gains by it, industrial 
production will grow, and the proletariat will grow too. 
The capitalists will gain from our policy and will create 
an industrial proletariat, which in our country, owing to 
the war and to the desperate poverty and ruin, has become 
declassed, i.e., dislodged from its class groove, and has 
ceased to exist as a proletariat. The proletariat is the class 
which is engaged in the production of material values in 
large-scale capitalist industry. Since large-scale capitalist 
industry has been destroyed, since the factories are at 
a standstill, the proletariat has disappeared. It has 



sometimes figured in statistics, but it has not been held 
together economically. 

The restoration of capitalism would mean the restoration 
of a proletarian class engaged in the production of socially 
useful material values in big factories employing machinery, 
and not in profiteering, not in making cigarette-lighters 
for sale, and in other "work" which is not very useful, but 
which is inevitable when our industry is in a state of ruin. 

The whole question is who will take the lead. We must 
face this issue squarely — who will come out on top? Either 
the capitalists succeed in organising first — in which case 
they will drive out the Communists and that will be the 
end of it. Or the proletarian state power, with the support 
of the peasantry, will prove capable of keeping a proper 
rein on those gentlemen, the capitalists, so as to direct 
capitalism along state channels and to create a capitalism 
that will be subordinate to the state and serve the state. 
The question must be put soberly. All this ideology, all 
these arguments about political liberties that we hear 
so much of, especially among Russian emigres, in Russia 
No. 2, where scores of daily newspapers published by 
all the political parties extol these liberties in every 
key and every manner — all these are mere talk, mere 
phrase-mongering. We must learn to ignore this phrase- 


During the past four years we have fought many hard 
battles and we have learnt that it is one thing to fight 
hard battles and another to talk about them — something 
onlookers particularly indulge in. We must learn to ignore 
all this ideology, all this chatter, and see the substance of 
things. And the substance is that the fight will be even 
more desperate and fiercer than the fight we waged against 
Kolchak and Denikin. That fighting was war, something 
we were familiar with. There have been wars for hundreds, 
for thousands of years. In the art of human slaughter much 
progress has been made. 

True, nearly every landowner had at his headquarters 
Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, who talked loudly 


about government by the people, the Constituent 
Assembly, and about the Bolsheviks having violated all 

It was, of course, much easier to solve war problems than 
those that confront us now; war problems could be 
solved by assault, attack, enthusiasm, by the sheer physical 
force of the hosts of workers and peasants, who saw the land- 
owners marching against them. Now there are no avowed 
landowners. Some of the Wrangels, Kolchaks and Denikins 
have gone the way of Nicholas Romanov, and some have 
sought refuge abroad. The people no longer see the open 
enemy as they formerly saw the landowners and capital- 
ists. The people cannot clearly picture to themselves that 
the enemy is the same, that he is now in our very midst, 
that the revolution is on the brink of the precipice which 
all previous revolutions reached and recoiled from — they 
cannot picture this because of their profound ignorance 
and illiteracy. It is hard to say how long it will take all 
sorts of extraordinary commissions to eradicate this illit- 
eracy by extraordinary means. 

How can the people know that instead of Kolchak, 
Wrangel and Denikin we have in our midst the enemy who 
has crushed all previous revolutions? If the capitalists 
gain the upper hand there will be a return to the old 
regime. That has been demonstrated by the experience of all 
previous revolutions. Our Party must make the masses 
realise that the enemy in our midst is anarchic capitalism 
and anarchic commodity exchange. We ourselves must 
see clearly that the issue in this struggle is: Who will win? 
Who will gain the upper hand? and we must make the 
broadest masses of workers and peasants see it clearly. 
The dictatorship of the proletariat is the sternest and 
fiercest struggle that the proletariat must wage against 
the whole world, for the whole world was against us in 
supporting Kolchak and Denikin. 

Now the bourgeoisie of the whole world are supporting 
the Russian bourgeoisie, and they are still ever so much 
stronger than we are. That, however, does not throw us 
into a panic. Their military forces were stronger than 
ours. Nevertheless, they failed to crush us in war, although, 
being immeasurably superior to us in artillery and 



aircraft, it should have been very easy for them to do 
so. Perhaps they would have crushed us had any of the 
capitalist states that were fighting us mobilised a few army 
corps in time, and had they not grudged a loan of several 
millions in gold to Kolchak. 

However, they failed because the rank-and-file British 
soldiers who came to Archangel, and the sailors who com- 
pelled the French fleet to leave Odessa, realised that their 
rulers were wrong and we were right. Now, too, we are 
being attacked by forces that are stronger than ours; and 
to win in this struggle we must rely upon our last source 
of strength. That last source of strength is the mass of 
workers and peasants, their class-consciousness and organ- 

Either organised proletarian power — and the advanced 
workers and a small section of the advanced peasants will 
understand this and succeed in organising a popular move- 
ment around themselves — in which case we shall be victo- 
rious; or we fail to do this — in which case the enemy, being 
technologically stronger, will inevitably defeat us. 


The dictatorship of the proletariat is fierce war. The 
proletariat has been victorious in one country, but it is 
still weak internationally. It must unite all the workers 
and peasants around itself in the knowledge that the war 
is not over. Although in our anthem we sing: "The last 
fight let us face", unfortunately it is not quite true; it is 
not our last fight. Either you succeed in uniting the 
workers and peasants in this fight, or you fail to achieve 

Never before in history has there been a struggle like 
the one we are now witnesses of; but there have been wars 
between peasants and landowners more than once in histo- 
ry, ever since the earliest times of slavery. Such wars have 
occurred more than once; but there has never been a war 
waged by a government against the bourgeoisie of its own 
country and against the united bourgeoisie of all countries. 

The issue of the struggle depends upon whether we 


succeed in organising the small peasants on the basis of the 
development of their productive forces with proletarian 
state assistance for this development, or whether the capi- 
talists gain control over them. The same issue has arisen 
in scores of revolutions in the past; but the world has never 
witnessed a struggle like the one we are waging now. The 
people have had no way of acquiring experience in wars 
of this kind. We ourselves must create this experience and 
we can rely only on the class-consciousness of the workers 
and peasants. That is the keynote and the enormous diffi- 
culty of this task. 


We must not count on going straight to communism. 
We must build on the basis of peasants' personal incen- 
tive. We are told that the personal incentive of the peasants 
means restoring private property. But we have never 
interfered with personally owned articles of consumption 
and implements of production as far as the peasants are 
concerned. We have abolished private ownership of land. 
Peasants farmed land that they did not own — rented land, 
for instance. That system exists in very many countries. 
There is nothing impossible about it from the standpoint 
of economics. The difficulty lies in creating personal 
incentive. We must also give every specialist an incentive 
to develop our industry. 

Have we been able to do that? No, we have not! We 
thought that production and distribution would go on at 
communist bidding in a country with a declassed prole- 
tariat. We must change that now, or we shall be unable 
to make the proletariat understand this process of tran- 
sition. No such problems have ever arisen in history before. 
We tried to solve this problem straight out, by a frontal 
attack, as it were, but we suffered defeat. Such mistakes 
occur in every war, and they are not even regarded as mis- 
takes. Since the frontal attack failed, we shall make a 
flanking movement and also use the method of siege and 




We say that every important branch of the economy 
must be built up on the principle of personal incentive. 
There must be collective discussion, but individual respon- 
sibility. At every step we suffer from our inability to apply 
this principle. The. New Economic Policy demands this 
line of demarcation to be drawn with absolute sharpness 
and distinction. When the people found themselves under 
new economic conditions they immediately began to discuss 
what would come of it, and how things should be reorgan- 
ised. We could not have started anything without this 
general discussion because for decades and centuries the 
people had been prohibited from discussing anything, 
and the revolution could not develop without a period in 
which people everywhere hold meetings to argue about all 

This has created much confusion. This is what hap- 
pened — this was inevitable, but it must be said that it was 
not dangerous. If we learn in good time to separate what is 
appropriate for meetings from what is appropriate for 
administration we shall succeed in raising the position of 
the Soviet Republic to its proper level. Unfortunately, 
we have not yet learnt to do this, and most congresses are 
far from business-like. 

In the number of our congresses we excel all other coun- 
tries in the world. Not a single democratic republic holds 
as many congresses as we do; nor could they permit it. 

We must remember that ours is a country that has 
suffered great loss and impoverishment, and that we must 
teach it to hold meetings in such a way as not to confuse, 
as I have said, what is appropriate for meetings with what 
is appropriate for administration. Hold meetings, but 
govern without the slightest hesitation; govern with a 
firmer hand than the capitalist governed before you. If 
you do not, you will not vanquish him. You must remember 
that government must be much stricter and much firmer 
than it was before. 

After many months of meetings, the discipline of the 
Red Army was not inferior to the discipline of the old 


army. Strict, stern measures were adopted, including 
capital punishment, measures that even the former govern- 
ment did not apply. Philistines wrote and howled, "The 
Bolsheviks have introduced capital punishment." Our reply 
is, "Yes, we have introduced it, and have done so delib- 

We must say: either those who wanted to crush us — 
and who we think ought to be destroyed — must perish, in 
which case our Soviet Republic will live or the capi- 
talists will live, and in that case the Republic will perish. 
In an impoverished country either those who cannot stand 
the pace will perish, or the workers' and peasants' republic 
will perish. There is not and cannot be any choice or any 
room for sentiment. Sentiment is no less a crime than 
cowardice in wartime. Whoever now departs from order 
and discipline is permitting the enemy to penetrate our midst. 

That is why I say that the New Economic Policy also 
has its educational aspect. You here are discussing methods 
of education. You must go as far as saying that we have no 
room for the half-educated. When there is communism, the 
methods of education will be milder. Now, however, I say 
education must be harsh, otherwise we shall perish. 


We had deserters from the army, and also from the labour 
front. We must say that in the past you worked for the 
benefit of the capitalists, of the exploiters, and of course 
you did not do your best. But now you are working for 
yourselves, for the workers' and peasants' state. Remember 
that the question at issue is whether we shall be able to 
work for ourselves, for if we cannot, I repeat, our Republic 
will perish. And we say, as we said in the army, that either 
those who want to cause our destruction must perish, or 
we must adopt the sternest disciplinary measures and 
thereby save our country — and our Republic will live. 

That is what our line must be, that is why (among other 
things) we need the New Economic Policy. 

Get down to business, all of you! You will have 
capitalists beside you, including foreign capitalists, 



concessionaires and leaseholders. They will squeeze profits 
out of you amounting to hundreds per cent; they will 
enrich themselves, operating alongside of you. Let them. 
Meanwhile you will learn from them the business of running 
the economy, and only when you do that will you be able 
to build up a communist republic. Since we must necessar- 
ily learn quickly, any slackness in this respect is a serious 
crime. And we must undergo this training, this severe, 
stern and sometimes even cruel training, because we have 
no other way out. 

You must remember that our Soviet land is impoverished 
after many years of trial and suffering, and has no social- 
ist France or socialist England as neighbours which could 
help us with their highly developed technology and their 
highly developed industry. Bear that in mind! We must 
remember that at present all their highly developed tech- 
nology and their highly developed industry belong to the 
capitalists, who are fighting us. 

We must remember that we must either strain every 
nerve in everyday effort, or we shall inevitably go under. 

Owing to the present circumstances the whole world 
is developing faster than we are. While developing, the 
capitalist world is directing all its forces against us. That 
is how the matter stands! That is why we must devote 
special attention to this struggle. 

Owing to our cultural backwardness we cannot crush 
capitalism by a frontal attack. Had we been on a different 
cultural level we could have approached the problem more 
directly; perhaps other countries will do it in this way 
when their turn comes to build their communist republics. 
But we cannot do it in the direct way. 

The state must learn to trade in such a way that industry 
satisfies the needs of the peasantry, so that the peasantry 
may satisfy their needs by means of trade. We must see 
to it that everyone who works devotes himself to strengthen- 
ing the workers' and peasants' state. Only then shall we 
be able to create large-scale industry. 

The masses must become conscious of this, and not only 
conscious of it, but put it into practice. This, I say, sug- 
gests what the functions of the Central Political Education 
Department should be. After every deep-going political 


revolution the people require a great deal of time to assim- 
ilate the change. And it is a question of whether the 
people have assimilated the lessons they received. To my 
deep regret, the answer to this question must be in the 
negative. Had they assimilated the lessons we should 
have started creating large-scale industry much more 
quickly and much earlier. 

After we had solved the problem of the greatest political 
revolution in history, other problems confronted us, cul- 
tural problems, which may be called "minor affairs". 
This political revolution must be assimilated; we must 
help the masses of the people to understand it. We must 
see to it that the political revolution remains something 
more than a mere declaration. 


At one time we needed declarations, statements, mani- 
festos and decrees. We have had enough of them. At one 
time we needed them to show the people how and what 
we wanted to build, what new and hitherto unseen things 
we were striving for. But can we go on showing the people 
what we want to build? No. Even an ordinary labourer 
will begin to sneer at us and say: "What use is it to keep 
on showing us what you want to build? Show us that you 
can build. If you can't build, we're not with you, and 
you can go to hell!" And he will be right. 

Gone is the time when it was necessary to draw political 
pictures of great tasks; today these tasks must be carried 
out in practice. Today we are confronted with cultural 
tasks, those of assimilating that political experience, 
which can and must be put into practice. Either we lay 
an economic foundation for the political gains of the Soviet 
state, or we shall lose them all. This foundation has not 
yet been laid — that is what we must get down to. 

The task of raising the cultural level is one of the most 
urgent confronting us. And that is the job the Political 
Education Departments must do, if they are capable of 
serving the cause of "political education", which is the 
title they have adopted for themselves. It is easy to adopt 



a title; but how about acting up to it? Let us hope that 
after this Congress we shall have precise information about 
this. A Commission for the Abolition of Illiteracy was set 
up on July 19, 1920. Before coming to this Congress I 
purposely read the decree establishing that commission. 
It says: All-Russia Commission for the Abolition of Illit- 
eracy.... More than that — Extraordinary Commission for 
the Abolition of Illiteracy. Let us hope that after this 
Congress we shall receive information about what has 
been done in this field, and in how many gubernias, and 
that the report will be concrete. But the very need to set 
up an Extraordinary Commission for the Abolition of 
Illiteracy shows that we are (what is the mildest term I can 
use for it?), well, something like semi-savages because in 
a country that was not semi-savage it would be considered 
a disgrace to have to set up an Extraordinary Commission 
for the Abolition of Illiteracy. In such countries illiteracy 
is abolished in schools. There they have tolerably good 
schools where people are taught. What are they taught? 
First of all they are taught to read and write. If we have 
not yet solved this elementary problem it is ridiculous to 
talk about a New Economic Policy. 


What talk can there be of a new policy? God grant that 
we manage to stick to the old policy if we have to resort 
to extraordinary measures to abolish illiteracy. That is 
obvious. But it is still more obvious that in the military 
and other fields we performed miracles. The greatest mira- 
cle of all, in my opinion, would be if the Commission for 
the Abolition of Illiteracy were completely abolished, and 
if no proposals, such as I have heard here, were made for 
separating it from the People's Commissariat of Education. 
If that is true, and if you give it some thought, you will 
agree with me that an extraordinary commission should 
be set up to abolish certain bad proposals. 

More than that — it is not enough to abolish illiteracy, 
it is necessary to build up Soviet economy, and for that 
literacy alone will not carry us very far. We must raise 
culture to a much higher level. A man must make use of 


his ability to read and write; he must have something 
to read, he must have newspapers and propaganda pam- 
phlets, which should be properly distributed and reach 
the people and not get lost in transit, as they do now, so 
that no more than half of them are read, and the rest are 
used in offices for some purpose or other. Perhaps not even 
one-fourth reach the people. We must learn to make full 
use of the scanty resources we do possess. 

That is why we must, in connection with the New Eco- 
nomic Policy, ceaselessly propagate the idea that political 
education calls for raising the level of culture at all costs. 
The ability to read and write must be made to serve the 
purpose of raising the cultural level; the peasants must be 
able to use the ability to read and write for the improve- 
ment of their farms and their state. 

Soviet laws are very good laws, because they give every- 
one an opportunity to combat bureaucracy and red tape, 
an opportunity the workers and peasants in any capitalist 
state do not have. But does anybody take advantage of 
this? Hardly anybody! Not only the peasants, but an enor- 
mous percentage of the Communists do not know how to 
utilise Soviet laws to combat red tape and bureaucracy, 
or such a truly Russian phenomenon as bribery. What 
hinders the fight against this? Our laws? Our propaganda? 
On the contrary! We have any number of laws! Why then 
have we achieved no success in this struggle? Because 
it cannot be waged by propaganda alone. It can be done 
if the masses of the people help. No less than half our Com- 
munists are incapable of fighting, to say nothing of those 
who are a hindrance in the fight. True, ninety-nine per cent 
of you are Communists, and you know that we are carrying 
out an operation on these latter Communists. The operation 
is being carried out by the Commission for Purging the 
Party, and we have hopes of removing a hundred thousand 
or so from our Party. Some say two hundred thousand, and 
I much prefer that figure. 

I hope very much that we shall expel a hundred thou- 
sand to two hundred thousand Communists who have 
attached themselves to the Party and who are not only 
incapable of fighting red tape and bribery, but are even a 
hindrance in this fight. 




If we purge the Party of a couple of hundred thousand 
it will be useful, but that is only a tiny fraction of what 
we must do. The Political Education Departments must 
adapt all their activities to this purpose. Illiteracy must 
be combated; but literacy alone is likewise not enough. 
We also need the culture which teaches us to fight red 
tape and bribery. It is an ulcer which no military victo- 
ries and no political reforms can heal. By the very nature 
of things, it cannot be healed by military victories and 
political reforms, but only by raising the cultural level. 
And that is the task that devolves upon the Political Education 

Political educationalists must not understand their job 
as that of functionaries, as often seems to be the case when 
people discuss whether representatives of Gubernia Political 
Education Departments should or should not be appointed to 
gubernia economic conferences. 24 Excuse me for saying so, 
but I do not think you should be appointed to any office; 
you should do your job as ordinary citizens. When you 
are appointed to some office you become bureaucrats; 
but if you deal with the people, and if you enlighten them 
politically, experience will show you that there will be 
no bribery among a politically enlightened people. At 
present bribery surrounds us on all sides. You will be asked 
what must be done to abolish bribery, to prevent so-and-so 
on the Executive Committee from taking bribes. You will 
he asked to teach people how to put a stop to it. And if a 
political educationalist replies that it does not come within 
the functions of his department, or that pamphlets have 
been published and proclamations made on the subject, 
the people will say that he is a bad Party member. True, 
this does not come within the functions of your depart- 
ment, we have the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection for 
that; but are you not members of the Party? You have 
adopted the title of political educationalists. When you 
were about to adopt that title you were warned not to 
choose such a pretentious one, to choose something more 
modest. But you wanted the title of political education- 
alists, and that title implies a great deal. You did not 


take the title of general educationalists, but of political 
educationalists. You may be told, "It is a good thing that 
you are teaching the people to read and write and to carry 
on economic campaigns; that is all very well, but it is 
not political education, because political education is the 
sum total of everything." 

We are carrying on propaganda against barbarism and 
against ulcers like bribery, and I hope you are doing the 
same, but political education is much more than this propa- 
ganda — it means practical results, it means teaching the 
people how to achieve these results, and setting an example 
to others, not as members of an Executive Committee, 
but as ordinary citizens who, being politically better edu- 
cated, are able not only to hurl imprecations at red tape — that is 
that is very widely practised among us — but to show how 
this evil can really be overcome. This is a very difficult 
art, which cannot be practised until the general level of 
culture is raised, until the mass of workers and peasants 
is more cultured than now. It is to this function that I 
should like most of all to draw the attention of the Central 
Political Education Department. 

I should now like to sum up all that I have said and 
to suggest practical solutions for the problems that con- 
front the Gubernia Political Education Departments. 


In my opinion, three chief enemies now confront one, 
irrespective of one's departmental functions; these tasks 
confront the political educationalist, if he is a Commu- 
nist — and most of the political educationalists are. The 
three chief enemies that confront him are the following: 
the first is communist conceit; the second — illiteracy, and 
the third — bribery. 


A member of the Communist Party, who has not yet 
been combed out, and who imagines he can solve all his 
problems by issuing communist decrees, is guilty of 



communist conceit. Because he is still a member of the ruling 
party and is employed in some government office, he imag- 
ines this entitles him to talk about the results of political 
education. Nothing of the sort! That is only communist 
conceit. The point is to learn to impart political knowl- 
edge; but that we have not yet learnt; we have not yet 
learnt how to approach the subject properly. 


As regards the second enemy, illiteracy, I can say that 
so long as there is such a thing as illiteracy in our country 
it is too much to talk about political education. This is 
not a political problem; it is a condition without which 
it is useless talking about politics. An illiterate person 
stands outside politics, he must first learn his ABC. Without 
that there can be no politics; without that there are 
rumours, gossip, fairy-tales and prejudices, but not politics. 


Lastly, if such a thing as bribery is possible it is no use 
talking about politics. Here we have not even an approach 
to politics; here it is impossible to pursue politics, because 
all measures are left hanging in the air and produce abso- 
lutely no results. A law applied in conditions which permit 
of widespread bribery can only make things worse. Under 
such conditions no politics whatever can be pursued; the 
fundamental condition for engaging in politics is lacking. 
To be able to outline our political tasks to the people, 
to be able to say to the masses what things we must strive 
for (and this is what we should be doing!), we must under- 
stand that a higher cultural level of the masses is what 
is required. This higher level we must achieve, otherwise 
it will be impossible really to solve our problems. 


A cultural problem cannot be solved as quickly as polit- 
ical and military problems. It must be understood that 
conditions for further progress are no longer what they 


were. In a period of acute crisis it is possible to achieve 
a political victory within a few weeks. It is possible to 
obtain victory in war in a few months. But it is impos- 
sible to achieve a cultural victory in such a short time. 
By its very nature it requires a longer period; and we must 
adapt ourselves to this longer period, plan our work 
accordingly, and display the maximum of perseverance, 
persistence and method. Without these qualities it is impos- 
sible even to start on the work of political education. And 
the only criterion of the results of political education is the 
improvement achieved in industry and agriculture. We 
must not only abolish illiteracy and the bribery which 
persists on the soil of illiteracy, but we must get the people 
really to accept our propaganda, our guidance and our 
pamphlets, so that the result may be an improvement in 
the national economy. 

Those are the functions of the Political Education 
Departments in connection with the New Economic Policy, 
and I hope this Congress will help us to achieve greater 
success in this field. 

Published in the Vtoroi Vserossiishy 
syezd politprosvetov. Bulleten syezda 
(Bulletin of the Second All-Russia 
Congress of Political Education De- 
partments) No. 2, 
October 19, 1921 

Published according to 
the Bulletin proofs 
corrected by Lenin 


OCTOBER 29-31,1921 

Published in Pravda 
Nos. 248 and 249, 
November 3 and 4, 1921 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 




Comrades, in reporting on the New Economic Policy, I 
must start with the reservation that I understand this 
subject differently from what many of you here, perhaps, 
expect; or rather, that I can deal with only one small part 
of this subject. Naturally, on this question interest centres 
mainly on the explanation and assessment of the recent 
laws and decisions of the Soviet government on the New 
Economic Policy. The larger the number of these decisions 
and the more urgent the need for their formulation, regu- 
lation and summation, the more legitimate the interest 
in such a subject, and as far as I can judge from my 
observations in the Council of People's Commissars, this 
need is now felt very, very acutely. No less legitimate is 
the desire to learn the facts and figures already available 
on the results of the New Economic Policy. The number of 
confirmed and tested facts is still very small, of course, 
but nonetheless such facts are available. Undoubtedly, to 
become familiar with the New Economic Policy it is abso- 
lutely necessary to keep up to date on those facts and to 
try to summarise them. But I cannot undertake to deal with 
either of these subjects, and if you are interested in them I 
am sure you will be able to find reporters on them. What 
interests me is another subject, namely, the tactics, or, 
if one may so express it, the revolutionary strategy we 
have adopted in connection with our change of policy; the 
extent, on the one hand, to which that policy corresponds to 
our general conception of our tasks, and, on the other hand, 
the extent to which the Party knows and appreciates the 



necessity for the New Economic Policy. This is the special 
question to which I should like to devote my talk exclu- 

What interests me first of all is this. In appraising our 
New Economic Policy, in what sense can we regard our 
former economic policy as a mistake? Would it be correct 
to say that it was a mistake? And lastly, if it was a mistake, 
is it useful and necessary to admit it? 

I think this question is important for an assessment of 
the extent to which agreement prevails in our Party on the 
most fundamental issues of our present economic policy. 

Should the Party's attention be now concentrated 
exclusively on certain definite aspects of this economic 
policy, or should it be devoted, from time to time, at least, 
to appraising the general conditions of this policy, and 
to the question of whether Party political consciousness, 
Party interest and Party attention conform to these general 
conditions? I think the position today is that our New 
Economic Policy is not yet sufficiently clear to large num- 
bers of our Party members; and unless the mistake of the 
previous economic policy is clearly understood we cannot 
successfully accomplish our task of laying the foundations 
and of finally determining the direction of our New Econom- 
ic Policy. 

To explain my views and to indicate in what sense we 
can, and in my opinion should, say that our previous eco- 
nomic policy was mistaken, I would like to take for the 
purpose of analogy an episode from the Russo-Japanese 
War, which, I think, will enable us to obtain a clearer 
picture of the relationship between the various systems and 
political methods adopted in a revolution of the kind that 
is taking place in our country. The episode I have in mind 
is the capture of Port Arthur by the Japanese General Nogi. 
The main thing that interests me in this episode is that the 
capture of Port Arthur was accomplished in two entirely 
different stages. The first stage was that of furious assaults; 
which ended in failure and cost the celebrated Japanese 
commander extraordinarily heavy losses. The second stage 
was the extremely arduous, extremely difficult and slow 
method of siege, according to all the rules of the art. Even- 
tually, it was by this method that the problem of captur- 



ing the fortress was solved. When we examine these facts 
we naturally ask in what way was the Japanese general's 
first mode of operation against the fortress of Port Arthur 
mistaken? Were the direct assaults on the fortress a mis- 
take? And if they were, under what circumstances should 
the Japanese army have admitted that it was mistaken so as 
to achieve its object; and to what extent should it have 
admitted that the assaults were mistaken? 

At first sight, of course, the answer to this question would 
seem to be a simple one. If a series of assaults on Port 
Arthur proved to be ineffective — and that was the case — if 
the losses sustained by the assailants were extremely heavy 
— and that, too, was undeniably the case — it is evident 
that the tactics of immediate and direct assault upon the 
fortress of Port Arthur were mistaken, and this requires 
no further proof. On the other hand, however, it is easy 
to understand that in solving a problem in which there 
are very many unknown factors, it is difficult without the 
necessary practical experience to determine with absolute 
certainty the mode of operation to be adopted against the 
enemy fortress, or even to make a fair approximation of it. 
It was impossible to determine this without ascertaining 
in practice the strength of the fortress, the strength of its 
fortifications, the state of its garrison, etc. Without this 
it was impossible for even the best of commanders, such 
as General Nogi undoubtedly was, to decide what tactics 
to adopt to capture the fortress. On the other hand, the 
successful conclusion of the war called for the speediest 
possible solution of the problem. Furthermore, it was highly 
probable that even very heavy losses, if they were inev- 
itable in the process of capturing the fortress by direct 
assault, would have been more than compensated for by 
the result; for it would have released the Japanese army 
for operations in other theatres of war, and would have 
achieved one of the major objects of the war before the 
enemy (the Russian army) could have dispatched large 
forces to this distant theatre of war, improved their training 
and perhaps gained immense superiority. 

If we examine the course of the military operations as 
a whole and the conditions under which the Japanese army 
operated, we must come to the conclusion that these assaults 



on Port Arthur were not only a display of supreme heroism 
on the part of the army which proved capable of enduring 
such huge losses, but that they were the only possible tac- 
tics that could have been adopted under the conditions 
then prevailing, i.e., at the opening of hostilities. Hence, 
these tactics were necessary and useful; for without a test 
of strength by the practical attempt to carry the fortress 
by assault, without testing the enemy's power of resistance, 
there would have been no grounds for adopting the more 
prolonged and arduous method of struggle, which, by the 
very fact that it was prolonged, harboured a number of other 
dangers. Taking the operations as a whole, we cannot but 
regard the first stage, consisting of direct assaults and 
attacks, as having been a necessary and useful stage, 
because, I repeat, without this experience the Japanese army 
could not have learnt sufficiently the concrete conditions 
of the struggle. What was the position of this army when 
the period of fighting against the enemy fortress by means 
of direct assault had drawn to a close? Thousands upon 
thousands of men had fallen, and thousands more would 
fall, but the fortress would not be taken in this way — such 
was the position when some, or the majority, began to 
realise that the tactics of direct assault had to be aban- 
doned and siege tactics adopted. Since the previous tac- 
tics had proved mistaken, they had to be abandoned, and 
all that was connected with them had to be regarded as a 
hindrance to the operations and dropped. Direct assaults 
had to cease; siege tactics had to be adopted; the dispo- 
sition of the troops had to be changed, stores and munitions 
redistributed, and, of course, certain methods and opera- 
tions had to be changed. What had been done before had 
to be resolutely, definitely and clearly regarded as a mistake 
in order to remove all obstacles to the development of the 
new strategy and tactics, to the development of operations 
which were now to be conducted on entirely new lines. 
As we know, the new strategy and tactics ended in com- 
plete victory, although it took much longer to achieve 
than was anticipated. 

I think this analogy can serve to illustrate the position 
in which our revolution finds itself in solving its socialist 
problems of economic development. Two periods stand out 



very distinctly in this connection. The first, the period 
from approximately the beginning of 1918 to the spring 
of 1921; and the other, the period from the spring of 1921 
to the present. 

If you recall the declarations, official and unofficial, 
which our Party made in late 1917 and early 1918, you will 
see that even at that time we were aware that the revolu- 
tion, the struggle, might proceed either by a relatively 
short road, or by a very long and difficult road. But in 
estimating the prospects of development we in most cases 
— I can scarcely recall an exception — started out with 
the assumption — perhaps not always openly expressed but 
always tacitly taken for granted — that we would be able to 
proceed straight away with socialist construction. I have 
purposely read over again all that was written, for example, 
in March and April 1918 about the tasks of our revolution 
in the sphere of socialist construction, 26 and I am convinced 
that that was really the assumption we made. 

This was the period when we accomplished the essential, 
and from the political point of view necessarily the prelimi- 
nary, task of seizing power, setting up the Soviet state system 
in place of the former bourgeois parliamentary system, and 
then the task of getting out of the imperialist war. And 
this withdrawal from the war was, as you know, accom- 
panied by extremely heavy losses, by the signing of the 
unbelievably humiliating Treaty of Brest, which imposed 
almost impossible terms upon us. After the conclusion of 
that peace we had a period — from March to the summer of 
1918 — in which war problems appeared to have been solved. 
Subsequent events showed that this was not the case. In 
March 1918, after the problem of the imperialist war was 
solved, we were just approaching the beginning of the Civil 
War, which in the summer of 1918 was brought closer and 
closer by the Czechoslovak mutiny. At that time — March 
or April 1918 — in discussing our tasks, we began to consider 
the prospect of passing from methods of gradual transition 
to such modes of operation as a struggle mainly for the 
expropriation of the expropriators, and this, in the main, 
characterised the first months of the revolution — the end 
of 1917 and the beginning of 1918. Even at that time we 
were obliged to say that our organisation of accounting 



and control lagged considerably behind our work and activ- 
ities in connection with the expropriation of the expropria- 
tors. That meant we had expropriated more than we could 
take account of, control, manage, etc., and thus the ques- 
tion was raised of transferring our activities from the task 
of expropriating, of smashing the power of the exploiters 
and expropriators, to that of organising accounting and 
control, to the, so to speak, prosaic tasks of actual economic 
development. Even at that time we had to retreat on a 
number of points. For example, in March and April 1918, 
the question was raised of remunerating specialists at rates 
that conformed, not to socialist, but to bourgeois relation- 
ships, i.e., at rates that corresponded, not to the difficulty 
or arduousness of the work performed, but to bourgeois 
customs and to the conditions of bourgeois society. Such 
exceptionally high — in the bourgeois manner — remunera- 
tion for specialists did not originally enter into the plans 
of the Soviet government, and even ran counter to a number 
of decrees issued at the end of 1917. But at the beginning 
of 1918 our Party gave direct instructions to the effect 
that we must step back a bit on this point and agree to a 
"compromise" (I employ the term then in use). On April 
29, 1918, the All-Russia Central Executive Committee adopt- 
ed a decision to the effect that it was necessary to make 
this change in the general system of payment. 27 

We regarded the organisational, economic work, which we 
put in the forefront at that time, from a single angle. We 
assumed that we could proceed straight to socialism without 
a preliminary period in which the old economy would be 
adapted to socialist economy. We assumed that by intro- 
ducing state production and state distribution we had 
established an economic system of production and distri- 
bution that differed from the previous one. We assumed that 
the two systems — state production and distribution and pri- 
vate commodity production and distribution — would com- 
pete with each other, and meanwhile we would build up 
state production and distribution, and step by step win 
them away from the hostile system. We said that our task 
now was not so much to expropriate the expropriators 
as to introduce accounting and control, increase the pro- 
ductivity of labour and tighten up discipline. We said this 


in March and April 1918; but we did not ask ourselves in 
what relation our economy would stand to the market, 
to trade. When in the spring of 1918, for example, in our 
polemics with a number of comrades, who were opposed 
to concluding the Brest peace, we raised the question of 
state capitalism, we did not argue that we were going back 
to state capitalism, but that our position would be alle- 
viated and the solution of our socialist problems facilitated 
if state capitalism became the predominant economic system 
in Russia. I want to draw your particular attention to 
this, because I think it is necessary to bear it in mind in 
order to understand the present change in our economic 
policy and how this change should be interpreted. 

I shall give you an example which may illustrate more 
concretely and vividly the conditions under which our 
struggle has evolved. In Moscow recently I saw a copy of 
the privately owned publication Listok Obyavleni. 28 After 
three years of our old economic policy this Listok Obyav- 
leni seemed to me to be something very unusual, very 
new and strange. Looking at it from the point of view of 
the general methods of our economic policy, however, there 
was nothing queer about it. Taking this slight but rather 
typical example you must remember how the struggle was 
developing, and what were its aims and methods in our 
revolution in general. One of the first decrees at the end 
of 1917 was that which established a state monopoly of 
advertising. What did that decree imply? It implied that 
the proletariat, which had won political power, assumed that 
there would be a more gradual transition to the new social 
and economic relations — not the abolition of the private 
press, but the establishment of a certain amount of state 
control that would direct it into the channels of state 
capitalism. The decree which established a state monopoly 
of advertising thereby assumed that privately owned news- 
papers would continue to exist as a general rule, that 
an economic policy requiring private advertisements would 
continue, and that private property would remain — that a 
number of private establishments which needed advertising 
and advertisements would continue to exist. That is what 
the decree on the state monopoly of private advertising 
meant, and it could have meant nothing else. There was 



something analogous to this in the decrees on banking, but 
I shall not go into that, for it would only complicate my 

What was the fate of the decree establishing a state 
monopoly of private advertising issued in the first weeks of 
the Soviet government? It was soon swept away. When we 
now recall the course of the struggle and the conditions 
under which it has proceeded since then, it is amusing to 
think how naive we were to talk then, at the close of 1917, 
about introducing a state monopoly of private advertising. 
What sort of private advertising could there have been in a 
period of desperate struggle? The enemy, i.e., the capital- 
ist world, retaliated to that Soviet government decree by 
continuing the struggle and by stepping it up to the 
limit. The decree assumed that the Soviet government, 
the proletarian dictatorship, was so firmly established 
that no other system of economy was possible; that the 
necessity to submit to it would be so obvious to the mass 
of private entrepreneurs and individual owners that they 
would accept battle where we, as the state power, chose. We 
said in effect: "We will allow your private publications 
to continue; private enterprises will remain; the freedom 
to advertise, which is necessary for the service of these 
private enterprises, will remain, except that the state will 
impose a tax on advertisements; advertising will be con- 
centrated in the hands of the state. The private advertising 
system, as such, will not be abolished; on the contrary, 
you will enjoy those benefits which always accrue from 
the proper concentration of publicity." What actually 
happened, however, was that we had to wage the struggle on 
totally different terrain. The enemy, i.e., the capitalist 
class, retaliated to this decree of the state power by com- 
pletely repudiating that state power. Advertising ceased 
to be the issue, for all the remnants of what was bourgeois 
and capitalist in our system had already concentrated their 
forces on the struggle against the very foundations of state 
power. We, who had said to the capitalists, "Submit to 
state regulation, submit to state power, and instead of 
the complete abolition of the conditions that correspond 
to the old interests, habits and views of the population, 
changes will be gradually made by state regulation" — we 



found our very existence in jeopardy. The capitalist class 
had adopted the tactics of forcing us into a desperate and 
relentless struggle, and that compelled us to destroy the old 
relations to a far larger extent than we had at first intended. 

Nothing came of the decree establishing state monopoly 
of private advertising; it remained a dead letter, while 
actual events, i.e., the resistance of the capitalist class, 
compelled our state to shift the struggle to an altogether 
different plane; not to the petty, ridiculously petty, 
issues we were naive enough to dabble in at the end of 1917, 
but to the issue of "To be or not to be?" — to smash the 
sabotage of the former salaried class; to repel the white- 
guard army, which was receiving assistance from the 
bourgeoisie of the whole world. 

I think that this episode with the decree on advertising 
provides useful guidance on the fundamental question of 
whether the old tactics were right or wrong. Of course, 
when we appraise events in the light of subsequent his- 
torical development, we cannot but regard our decree as 
naive and, to a certain extent, mistaken. Nevertheless, it 
did contain something that was right, in that the state 
power — the proletariat — made an attempt to pass, as grad- 
ually as possible, breaking up as little of the old as pos- 
sible, to the new social relations while adapting itself, as 
much as possible, one may say, to the conditions then pre- 
vailing. But the enemy, i.e., the bourgeois class, went to 
all ends to provoke us into an extremely desperate struggle. 
Was this strategically correct from the enemy's point of 
view? Of course it was; for how could the bourgeoisie be 
expected to submit to an absolutely new, hitherto unpre- 
cedented proletarian power without first testing its strength 
by means of a direct assault? The bourgeoisie said to us, in 
effect, "Excuse us, gentlemen, we shall not talk to you 
about advertisements, but about whether we can find in our 
midst another Wrangel, Kolchak or Denikin, and whether 
they will obtain the aid of the international bourgeoisie in 
deciding, not whether you are going to have a State Bank or 
not, but an entirely different issue." Quite a lot was writ- 
ten about the State Bank at the end of 1917 but as in the 
case with advertisements it all remained largely a dead 



At that time the bourgeoisie retaliated with a strategy 
that was quite correct from its point of view. What it said 
was, "First of all we shall fight over the fundamental issue 
of whether you are really the state power or only think 
you are; and this question will not be decided by decrees, 
of course, but by war, by force; and in all probability this 
war will be waged not only by us, the capitalists who have 
been expelled from Russia, but by all those who want the 
capitalist system. And if it turns out that the rest of the 
world is sufficiently interested, we Russian capitalists will 
receive the assistance of the international bourgeoisie." 
From the standpoint of its own interests, the bourgeoisie 
acted quite rightly. If it had had oven a crumb of hope 
of settling the fundamental issue by the most effective 
means — war — it could not and should not have agreed to 
the partial concessions the Soviet government offered it 
while contemplating a more gradual transition to the new 
system. "We don't want your transition, we don't want 
your new system," was the reply of the bourgeoisie. 

That is why events developed in the way they did. On 
the one hand, we had the victory of the proletarian state 
accompanied by a struggle of extraordinary magnitude 
amidst unprecedented popular enthusiasm, which character- 
ised the whole period of 1917 and 1918. On the other hand, 
the Soviet government attempted to introduce an economic 
policy that was originally calculated to bring about a num- 
ber of gradual changes, to bring about a more cautious transi- 
tion to the new system. This policy was expressed, among 
other things, by the little example I have just given you. In 
retaliation, the enemy camp proclaimed its determination to 
wage a relentless struggle to decide whether Soviet power 
could, as a state, maintain its position in the international 
system of economic relations. That issue could be decided 
only by war, which, being civil war, was very fierce. The 
sterner the struggle became, the less chance there was of a 
cautious transition. As I have said, in the logic of the strug- 
gle the bourgeoisie was right from its own point of view. 
But what could we say? We said to the capitalists, "You 
will not frighten us, gentlemen. In addition to the thrashing 
we gave you and your Constituent Assembly in the polit- 
ical field, we shall give you a thrashing in this field too." 



We could not act otherwise. Any other way would have 
meant the complete surrender of our positions. 

If you recall the conditions under which our struggle 
developed you will understand what this seemingly wrong 
and fortuitous change meant; why — relying upon the general 
enthusiasm and on ensured political power — we were so 
easily able to disperse the Constituent Assembly; why we at 
the same time had to try a number of measures that meant 
the gradual and cautious introduction of economic reforms; 
and why, finally, the logic of the struggle and the resistance 
of the bourgeoisie compelled us to resort to the most 
extreme, most desperate and relentless civil war, which 
devastated Russia for three years. 

By the spring of 1921 it became evident that we had 
suffered defeat in our attempt to introduce the socialist 
principles of production and distribution by "direct 
assault", i.e., in the shortest, quickest and most direct way. 
The political situation in the spring of 1921 revealed to 
us that on a number of economic issues a retreat to the 
position of state capitalism, the substitution of "siege" 
tactics for "direct assault", was inevitable. 

If this transition calls forth complaints, lamentations, 
despondency and indignation among some people, we must 
say that defeat is not as dangerous as the fear to admit it, 
fear to draw all the logical conclusions from it. A military 
struggle is much simpler than the struggle between socialism 
and capitalism; and we defeated Kolchak and Co. because 
we were not afraid to admit our defeats, we were not afraid to 
learn the lessons that these defeats taught us and to do over 
and over again what had been left unfinished or done badly. 

We must act in the same way in the much more complicat- 
ed and difficult field of struggle between socialist and cap- 
italist economy. Don't be afraid to admit defeat. Learn 
from defeat. Do over again more thoroughly, more carefully, 
and more systematically what you have done badly. If any 
of us were to say that admission of defeat — like the sur- 
render of positions — must cause despondency and relaxation 
of effort in the struggle, we would reply that such revolution- 
aries are not worth a damn. 

I hope that, except in isolated cases, nobody will be 
able to say that about the Bolsheviks, who have been steeled 



by the experience of three years of civil war. Our strength 
lay and will lie in our ability to evaluate the severest 
defeats in the most dispassionate manner and to learn from 
them what must be changed in our activities. That is why 
we must speak plainly. This is interesting and important 
not only from the point of view of correct theory, but also 
from the practical point of view. We cannot learn to solve 
our problems by new methods today if yesterday's expe- 
rience has not opened our eyes to the incorrectness of the 
old methods. 

The New Economic Policy was adopted because, in the 
spring of 1921, after our experience of direct socialist con- 
struction carried on under unprecedentedly difficult 
conditions, under the conditions of civil war, in which the 
bourgeoisie compelled us to resort to extremely hard forms 
of struggle, it became perfectly clear that we could not 
proceed with our direct socialist construction and that in a 
number of economic spheres we must retreat to state capi- 
talism. We could not continue with the tactics of direct 
assault, but had to undertake the very difficult, arduous and 
unpleasant task of a long siege accompanied by a number of 
retreats. This is necessary to pave the way for the solution 
of the economic problem, i.e., that of the economic transi- 
tion to socialist principles. 

I cannot today quote figures, data, or facts to show the 
results of this policy of reverting to state capitalism. I 
shall give only one small example. You know that one of 
our principal industrial centres is the Donets Basin. You 
know that there we have some of the largest of the former 
capitalist enterprises, which are in no way inferior to the 
capitalist enterprises in Western Europe. You know also 
that our first task then was to restore the big industrial 
enterprises; it was easier for us to start the restoration 
of the Donets industry because we had a relatively small 
number of workers there. But what do we see there now, 
after the change of policy last spring? We see the very 
opposite, viz., that the development of production is 
particularly successful in the small mines which we have 
leased to peasants. We see the development of state capi- 
talist relations. The peasant mines are working well and 
are delivering to the state, by way of rent, about thirty 



per cent of their coal output. The development of produc- 
tion in the Donets Basin shows a considerable general 
improvement over last summer's catastrophic position; and 
this is largely due to the improvement of production in 
small mines, to their being exploited along the lines of 
state capitalism. I cannot here go into all the data on the 
question, but this example should clearly illustrate to you 
some of the practical results that have been achieved by 
the change of policy. A revival of economic life — and that 
is what we must have at all costs — and increased produc- 
tivity — which we must also have at all costs — are what 
we are beginning to obtain as a result of the partial rever- 
sion to the system of state capitalism. Our ability, the 
extent to which we shall be able to apply this policy cor- 
rectly in the future, will determine to what extent we shall 
continue to get good results. 

I shall now go back and develop my main idea. Is our 
transition to the New Economic Policy in the spring, our 
retreat to the ways, means and methods of state capitalism, 
sufficient to enable us to stop the retreat and prepare for 
the offensive? No, it is not yet sufficient. And for this rea- 
son. To go back to the analogy I gave at the beginning 
(of direct assault and siege in war), we have not yet com- 
pleted the redeployment of our forces, the redistribution 
of our stores and munitions, etc.; in short, we are not yet 
fully prepared for the new operations, which must be con- 
ducted on different lines in conformity with the new strategy 
and tactics. Since we are now passing to state capitalism, 
the question arises of whether we should try to prevent 
the methods which were suitable for the previous economic 
policy from hindering us now. It goes without saying, and 
our experience has proved it, that that is what we must 
secure. In the spring we said that we would not be afraid 
to revert to state capitalism, and that our task was to organ- 
ise commodity exchange. A number of decrees and decisions, 
a vast number of newspaper articles, all our propaganda 
and all the laws passed since the spring of 1921 have been 
directed to the purpose of stimulating commodity exchange. 
What was implied by that term? What plan of development, 
if one may so express it, did it imply? It implied a more 
or less socialist exchange throughout the country of the 



products of industry for the products of agriculture, and 
by means of that commodity exchange the restoration of 
large-scale industry as the sole basis of socialist organisa- 
tion. But what happened? You are all now well aware of 
it from your own practical experience, and it is also evident 
from our press, that this system of commodity exchange 
has broken down; it has broken down in the sense that it 
has assumed the form of buying and selling. And we must 
now admit this if we do not want to bury our heads in the 
sand, if we do not want to be like those who do not know 
when they are beaten, if we are not afraid of looking danger 
straight in the face. We must admit that we have not re- 
treated far enough, that we must make a further retreat, a 
further retreat from state capitalism to the creation of 
state-regulated buying and selling, to the money system. 
Nothing came of commodity exchange; the private market 
proved too strong for us; and instead of the exchange of 
commodities we got ordinary buying and selling, trade. 

Take the trouble to adapt yourselves to this; otherwise, 
you will be overwhelmed by the wave of spontaneous buying 
and selling, by the money system! 

That is why we find ourselves in the position of having 
to retreat still further, in order, eventually, to go over 
to the offensive. That is why we must all admit now that 
the methods of our previous economic policy were wrong. 
We must admit this in order to be able to understand the 
nature of the present position, the specific features of the 
transition that now lies ahead of us. We are not now con- 
fronted with urgent problems of foreign affairs; nor are 
we confronted with urgent war problems. We are now con- 
fronted mainly with economic problems, and we must bear 
in mind that the next stage cannot be a transition straight 
to socialist construction. 

We have not been able to set our (economic) affairs in 
order in the course of three years. The devastation, impo- 
verishment and cultural backwardness of our country were 
so great that it proved impossible to solve the problem in 
so short a time. But, taken as a whole, the assault left its 
mark and was useful. 

Now we find ourselves in the position of having to retreat 
even a little further, not only to state capitalism, but to 



the state regulation of trade and the money system. Only 
in this way, a longer way than we expected, can we restore 
economic life. Unless we re-establish a regular system of 
economic relations, restore small-peasant farming, and 
restore and further expand large-scale industry by our own 
efforts, we shall fail to extricate ourselves from the crisis. 
We have no other way out; and yet there are many in our 
ranks who still do not understand clearly enough that this 
economic policy is necessary. When we say, for example, 
that the task that confronts us is to make the state a whole- 
sale merchant, or that it must learn to carry on whole- 
sale trade, that our task is commercial, some people think 
it is very queer and even very terrible. They say: "If Com- 
munists have gone to the length of saying that the imme- 
diate task is to engage in trade, in ordinary, common, 
vulgar, paltry trade, what can remain of communism? Is 
this not enough to make anyone throw up his hands in 
despair and say, 'All is lost'?" If we look round, I think we 
shall find people who express sentiments of this kind, and 
such sentiments are very dangerous, because if they become 
widespread they would give many people a distorted view of 
things and prevent them from appraising our immediate 
tasks soberly. If we concealed from ourselves, from the 
working class, from the masses the fact that we retreated 
in the economic field in the spring of 1921, and that we are 
continuing the retreat now, in the autumn and winter of 
1921-22, we would be certifying to our own lack of political 
consciousness; it would prove that we lacked the courage to 
face the present situation. It would be impossible to work 
and fight under such conditions. 

If an army which found that it was unable to capture 
a fortress by direct assault declared that it refused to leave 
the old positions and occupy new ones, refused to adopt new 
methods of achieving its object, one would say that that 
army had learnt to attack, but had not learnt to retreat 
when certain severe conditions made it necessary, and 
would, therefore, never win the war. There has never been a 
war in history that was an uninterrupted victorious advance 
from beginning to end — at any rate, such wars are very rare 
exceptions. This applies to ordinary wars but what about 
wars which decide the fate of a whole class, which decide 



the issue of socialism or capitalism? Are there reasonable 
grounds for assuming that a nation which is attempting to 
solve this problem for the first time can immediately find 
the only correct and infallible method? What grounds are 
there for assuming that? None whatever! Experience 
teaches the very opposite. Of the problems we tackled, not 
one was solved at the first attempt; every one of them had to 
be taken up a second time. After suffering defeat we tried 
again, we did everything all over again; if we could not 
find an absolutely correct solution to a problem we tried 
to find one that was at least satisfactory. That is how we 
acted in the past, and that is how we must continue to 
act in the future. If, in view of the prospects before us, 
there were no unanimity in our ranks it would be a very 
sad sign that an extremely dangerous spirit of despondency 
had lodged itself in the Party. If, however, we are not 
afraid to speak the sad and bitter truth straight out, we 
shall learn, we shall unfailingly and certainly learn to 
overcome all our difficulties. 

We must take our stand on the basis of existing capitalist 
relations. Will this task scare us? Shall we say that it is 
not communist? If so, then we have failed to understand 
the revolutionary struggle, we have failed to understand 
that the struggle is very intense and is accompanied by 
extremely abrupt changes, which we cannot brush aside 
under any circumstances. 

I shall now sum up. 

I shall touch upon the question that occupies many 
people's minds. If today, in the autumn and winter of 1921, 
we are making another retreat, when will the retreat stop? 
We often hear this question put directly, or not quite 
directly. This question recalls to my mind a similar question 
that was asked in the period of the Brest peace. When we 
concluded the Brest peace we were asked, "If you concede 
this, that and the other to German imperialism, when 
will the concessions stop? And what guarantee is there 
that they will stop? And in making these concessions, are 
you not making the position more dangerous?" Of course, 
we are making our position more dangerous; but you must 
not forget the fundamental laws of every war. War itself 
is always dangerous. There is not a moment in time of 



war when you are not surrounded by danger. And what 
is the dictatorship of the proletariat? It is war, much more 
cruel, much more prolonged and much more stubborn than 
any other war has ever been. Here danger threatens us 
at every step. 

The position which our New Economic Policy has created 
— the development of small commercial enterprises, the 
leasing of state enterprises, etc. — entails the development 
of capitalist relations; and anybody who fails to see this 
shows that he has lost his head entirely. It goes without 
saying that the consolidation of capitalist relations in 
itself increases the danger. But can you point to a single 
path in revolution, to any stage and method that would 
not have its dangers? The disappearance of danger would 
mean that the war had come to an end, and that the dic- 
tatorship of the proletariat had ceased. Of course, not a 
single one among us thinks that anything like that is 
possible at the present moment. Every step in this New 
Economic Policy entails a series of dangers. When we said 
in the spring that we would substitute the tax in kind for 
requisitioning, that we would pass a decree granting free- 
dom to trade in the surplus grain left over after the tax 
in kind had been paid, we thereby gave capitalism freedom 
to develop. Failure to understand this means losing sight 
of the fundamental economic relations; and it means that 
you are depriving yourself of the opportunity to look round 
and act as the situation demands. Of course, the methods 
of struggle have changed; the dangers spring from other 
sources. When the question of establishing the power of 
the Soviets, of dissolving the Constituent Assembly was 
being decided, political danger threatened us. That danger 
proved to be insignificant. When the period of civil war 
set in — civil war backed by the capitalists of the whole 
world — the military danger, a far more formidable danger, 
arose. And when we changed our economic policy, the 
danger became still greater, because, consisting as it does 
of a vast number of economic, workaday trifles, which 
one usually becomes accustomed to and fails to notice, 
economics calls for special attention and effort and more 
peremptorily demands that we learn the proper methods of 
overcoming this danger. The restoration of capitalism, the 



development of the bourgeoisie, the development of bour- 
geois relations in the sphere of trade, etc. — this constitutes 
the danger that is peculiar to our present period of econo- 
mic development, to our present gradual approach to the 
solution of problems that are far more difficult than previous 
problems have been. There must not be the slightest mis- 
understanding about this. 

We must understand that the present concrete conditions 
call for the state regulation of trade and the money system, 
and it is precisely in this field that we must show what 
we are capable of. There are more contradictions in our 
economic situation now than there were before the New 
Economic Policy was adopted; there is a partial, slight 
improvement in the economic position of some sections of 
the population, of the few; there is an extreme disproportion 
between economic resources and the essential needs of other 
sections, of the majority. Contradictions have increased. 
And it goes without saying that in making this very sharp 
change we cannot escape from these contradictions at one 

In conclusion, I should like to emphasise the three main 
points of my report. First, the general question — in what 
respect must we admit that our Party's economic line 
in the period preceding the New Economic Policy was 
wrong? By quoting the example of what had occurred during 
a certain war I tried to explain the necessity of passing 
from assault to siege tactics, the inevitability of assault 
tactics at first, and the need to realise the importance of 
new fighting methods after the assault tactics have failed. 

Next, the first lesson, the first stage which we had 
reached by the spring of 1921 — the development of state 
capitalism on new lines. Here certain successes can be 
recorded; but there are still unprecedented contradictions. 
We have not yet mastered this sphere of activity. 

And third, after the retreat from socialist construction 
to state capitalism, which we were obliged to make in the 
spring of 1921, we see that the regulation of trade and the 
money system are on the order of the day. Remote from 
communism as the sphere of trade may seem to be, it is here 
that a specific problem confronts us. Only by solving that 
problem can we get down to the problem of meeting economic 


needs that are extremely urgent; and only in that way shall 
we be able to restore large-scale industry — by a longer 
and surer way, the only way now open to us. 

These are the main factors in the New Economic Policy 
that we must always bear in mind. In solving the problems 
of this policy we must clearly see the fundamental lines of 
development so as to be able to keep our bearings in the 
seeming chaos in economic relations we now observe, when, 
simultaneously with the break up of the old, we see the still 
feeble shoots of the new, and often employ methods that do 
not conform to the new conditions. Having set ourselves 
the task of increasing the productive forces and of restoring 
large-scale industry as the only basis for socialist society, 
we must operate in a way that will enable us to approach 
this task properly, and to solve it at all costs. 





Comrades! Before replying to the observations submitted 
in writing I should like to say a few words in reply to the 
comrades who have spoken here. I should like to point to 
what I think is a misunderstanding in Comrade Larin's 
speech. Either I did not express myself clearly, or else he did 
not understand me properly; but he linked the question of 
regulation, which I dealt with in my speech, with the ques- 
tion of regulating industry. That is obviously wrong. I 
spoke about regulating trade and the money system and 
compared it with commodity exchange. To this I must add 
that if we want our policy, our decisions and our propaganda 
and agitation to be effective, and if we want to secure an 
improvement in our propaganda, agitation and decrees, we 
must not turn our backs on recent experience. Is it not 
true that we spoke about commodity exchange in the spring 
of 1921? Of course, it is; you all know it. Is it not true 
that commodity exchange, as a system, proved to be unsuited 
to the prevailing conditions, which have given rise to the 
money system, to buying and selling for money, instead 
of commodity exchange? There can be no doubt about this; 
the facts prove it. This answers both Comrade Stukov and 
Comrade Sorin, who spoke here about people imagining 
mistakes. Here is a striking example not of an imaginary, 
but of a real mistake. 

The experience of our economic policy during the recent 
period, that commenced with the spring, has shown that in 
the spring of 1921 nobody challenged the New Economic 
Policy and that the whole Party, at congresses and con- 


ferences and in the press, had accepted it absolutely unan- 
imously. The controversies that had raged previously did 
not affect the new, unanimous decision in the least. This 
decision was based on the assumption that by means of 
commodity exchange we could achieve a more direct tran- 
sition to socialist construction. But at present it is clear 
that we must go by a roundabout way — through trade. 

Comrades Stukov and Sorin complained that there was a 
lot of talk about mistakes and begged us to refrain from 
inventing them. Of course, it is a very bad thing to invent 
mistakes; but it is utterly wrong to brush practical prob- 
lems aside, as Comrade Gonikman does. He delivered 
quite an oration on the theme that "historical phenomena 
could not assume any other shape than they have done". 
That is absolutely incontrovertible, and, of course, we have 
all learnt this from the ABC of communism, the ABC of 
historical materialism, and the ABC of Marxism. Here is an 
argument based on these lines. Was Comrade Semkov's 
speech a historical phenomenon, or not? I maintain that 
it was. The very fact that this historical phenomenon 
could not assume any other shape than it did proves that 
nobody has invented mistakes and that nobody maliciously 
wanted members of the Party to give way — or maliciously 
wanted to permit them to give way — to despondency, dismay 
and dejection. Comrades Stukov and Sorin were very much 
afraid that the admission of mistakes would be harmful in 
one way or another, wholly or partly, directly or indirectly, 
because it would spread despondency and dejection. The 
purpose I had in mind in giving these examples was to 
show that the crux of the matter is this — has the admis- 
sion of mistakes any practical significance at the moment? 
Should anything be changed after what has happened, and 
had to happen? First we launched an assault; and only after 
that did we commence a siege. Everybody knows that; 
and now the application of our economic policy is being 
hindered by the erroneous adoption of methods that 
would, perhaps, be excellent under other conditions, but 
which are harmful today. Nearly all the comrades who 
spoke here entirely avoided this subject although this, 
and this alone, is the point at issue. My best ally here proved 
to be Comrade Semkov, because his speech was a vivid 



example of this mistake. Had Comrade Semkov not been 
here, or had he not spoken here today, the impression might 
have remained that Lenin was inventing mistakes. But 
Comrade Semkov very definitely said: "What's the use of 
talking to us about state trade! They didn't teach us to 
trade in prison." Comrade Semkov, it is quite true that 
we were not taught to trade in prison! But were we taught 
to fight in prison? Were we taught how to administer a 
state in prison? Were we ever taught the very unpleasant 
business of reconciling the different People's Commissariats 
and of co-ordinating their activities? We were not taught 
that anywhere. We were not taught anything in prison. 
At best, we studied ourselves. We studied Marxism, the 
history of the revolutionary movement, and so forth. In 
that respect, for many of us the time we spent in prison 
was not lost. When we are told: "They did not teach us 
to trade in prison", it clearly shows that those who say 
it have a mistaken idea of the practical objects of the Party's 
struggle and activities today. And this is the mistake of 
employing methods suitable for an "assault" when we are 
in the period of "siege". Comrade Semkov revealed the 
mistake that is being made in the ranks of the Party. This 
mistake must be admitted and rectified. 

If we could rely on military and political enthusiasm — 
which undoubtedly has been a gigantic historical force and 
has played a great role that will affect the international 
working-class movement as well for many years to come; if 
this enthusiasm — with a certain degree of culture, and with 
our factories in a better condition — could help us to pass 
straight on to socialist construction, we would not now 
engage in anything so unpleasant as business calculation 
and the art of commerce. It would not be necessary. As 
things are, however, we must engage in these matters. Why? 
Because we are directing, and must direct, economic 
development. Economic development has brought us to the 
position where we must resort not only to such unpleasant 
things as leasing, but also to this unpleasant business of 
trading. It was to be expected that this unpleasant situa- 
tion would give rise to despondency and dejection. But 
who is to blame for that? Is it not those who have given way 
to dejection and despondency? If the economic situation in 


which we find ourselves as a result of the sum total of con- 
ditions, economic and political, international and Russian, 
is such that the money system and not commodity exchange 
has become a fact, if it has become necessary to regulate 
the trade and defective money system that exist today, 
shall we Communists say that it has nothing to do with 
us? That would indeed be the most pernicious despondency, 
would express a mood of utter despair, and would make 
all further work impossible. 

The situation in which we are carrying on our work has 
not been created by ourselves alone; it is bound up with 
the economic struggle and our relations with other countries. 
Things so turned out that last spring we had to discuss the 
question of leasing, and today we have to discuss the ques- 
tion of trade and the money system. To shirk this question 
by arguing "that they did not teach us to trade in prison" 
means to give way to inexcusable despondency, means 
shirking our economic task. It would be much more pleasant 
to capture capitalist trade by assault, and under certain 
circumstances (if our factories were not ruined and if we 
had a developed economy and culture) it would not be 
a mistake to launch an "assault", i.e., to pass straight on 
to commodity exchange. In the present circumstances, 
however, the mistake we make is that we refuse to under- 
stand that another method of approach is necessary and 
inevitable. Nobody is inventing this mistake; it is not a 
mistake taken from history — it is a lesson that will help us 
to understand what can and must be done at the present 
time. Can the Party successfully accomplish the task that 
confronts it if it approaches it on the principle that "they 
did not teach us to trade in prison" and that we don't want 
any commercial calculations? There are lots of things that 
we did not learn in prison, but which we had to learn after 
the revolution; and we learnt them very well. 

I think it is our duty to learn to understand commercial 
relations and trade; and we shall begin to learn this, and 
finally master it, when we begin to talk about it without 
beating about the bush. We have had to retreat so far that 
the question of trade has become a practical question for 
the Party, a question of economic development. What 
dictates our transition to a commercial basis? Our environ- 



ment, our present conditions. This transition is essential 
to enable us speedily to restore large-scale industry, link 
it up speedily with agriculture and organise a correct 
exchange of products. In a country with a better developed 
industry all this would take place much quicker; in our 
country this follows a longer, circuitous road, but in the 
end we shall attain our goal. And today we must be guided 
by the tasks that the present and immediate future pose 
before us, before our Party, which has to direct the whole 
state economy. We can no longer speak of commodity 
exchange today because we have lost it as a sphere of struggle. 
That is an incontrovertible fact, no matter how unpleasant 
it may be to us. Does that mean we must say there is noth- 
ing else for us to do? Nothing of the sort. We must learn. 
We must acquire the knowledge needed for the state to 
regulate commercial relations — it is a difficult task but 
not an impossible one. And we shall carry it out because 
we have carried out tasks that were just as new, necessary 
and difficult. The co-operative trade is something difficult 
but not impossible; we have to understand this thoroughly 
and get down to serious work. That is what our new policy 
boils down to. To date we have already put a small number 
of enterprises on a commercial footing; at these enterprises 
wages are paid according to the prices on the open market, 
and they have gone over to gold in their settlements. But 
the number of such economic units is insignificant; in most 
of the others there is chaos, a serious discrepancy between 
wages and living conditions; state supplies for some have 
ceased and for others have been reduced. What is the way 
out? The only way is to learn, adapt ourselves and resolve 
these problems properly, i.e., in conformity with the con- 
ditions obtaining. 

That is my reply to the comrades who have spoken about 
today's talk, and now I shall reply briefly to some of the 
notes submitted. 

One of them reads: "You refer to Port Arthur. But don't 
you see the possibility of our being Port Arthur besieged 
by the international bourgeoisie?" 

Yes, comrades. I have already said that war itself is 
always dangerous; that we must never embark on war without 
bearing in mind the possibility of defeat. If we are defeated, 


then, of course, we shall find ourselves in the deplorable 
position of Port Arthur. But in my speech I had in mind 
the Port Arthur of international capitalism, which is being 
besieged, and other armies besides our own are taking part 
in this siege. In every capitalist country there is a steadily 
growing army that is besieging this Port Arthur of inter- 
national capitalism. 

A comrade asks: "What will be our tactics on the morrow 
of the social revolution if it breaks out next year, or the 
year after?" If it were possible to answer such questions 
it would be quite easy to make revolutions, and we would 
make any number of them all over the place. But such 
questions cannot be answered, because we cannot say what 
will happen in six months' time, let alone next year, or 
the year after. It is as useless to put such questions as to 
attempt to decide which of the belligerents will find itself 
in the deplorable position of the fortress of Port Arthur. 
The only thing we know is that in the long run the fortress 
of the international Port Arthur must inevitably be cap- 
tured, because the forces that will capture it are growing 
in all countries. The main problem that confronts us today 
is how to retain the possibility of restoring large-scale 
industry under the extremely difficult conditions in which 
we now find ourselves. We must not shun commercial 
accounting, but must understand that only on this basis can 
we create tolerable conditions that will satisfy the workers 
as regards wages, employment, etc. Only on this commercial 
basis will it be possible for us to build up our economy. 
This is being hindered by prejudice and by reminiscences 
of yesterday. Unless we take this into account we shall 
fail to carry out the New Economic Policy properly. 

Questions like the following are also asked, "Where is 
the last line of retreat?" I have other questions of the same 
type, "How far can we retreat?" I anticipated this question 
and said a few words about it in my report. This question 
reflects a mood of despondency and dejection, and is 
absolutely groundless. We heard the same sort of question 
at the time we concluded the Brest-Litovsk peace. It is 
wrong to put such a question, because only when we have 
pursued our new policy for some time shall we have material 
on which to base our reply to it. We shall go on retreating 



until we have completed our education; until we have 
made our preparations for a definite offensive. I cannot 
say more than that. It is very unpleasant to retreat. But 
when heavy blows are being struck, nobody stops to ask 
whether it is pleasant or unpleasant: the troops retreat, 
and nobody is surprised. Nothing useful will come of asking 
how long we shall go on retreating. Why anticipate hope- 
less situations? Instead of doing that, we must get down 
to definite work. We must closely examine the concrete 
conditions, the concrete situation, decide what position we 
can hold — a river, a hill, a bog, a railway station. Because 
only when we are able to hold our ground shall we be able 
to pass to the offensive. We must not give way to despon- 
dency; we must not shirk the problem by shouting propa- 
ganda slogans, which are all very well in their proper place, 
but which in the present case can do nothing but harm. 



The best way to celebrate the anniversary of a great 
revolution is to concentrate attention on its unsolved 
problems. It is particularly appropriate and necessary to 
celebrate the revolution in this way at a time when we are 
faced with fundamental problems that the revolution has not 
yet solved, and when we must master something new (from 
the point of view of what the revolution has accomplished up 
to now) for the solution of these problems. 

What is new for our revolution at the present time is 
the need for a "reformist", gradual, cautious and round- 
about approach to the solution of the fundamental problems 
of economic development. This "novelty" gives rise to a 
number of questions, perplexities and doubts in both theory 
and practice. 

A theoretical question. How can we explain the transi- 
tion from a series of extremely revolutionary actions to 
extremely "reformist" actions in the same field at a time 
when the revolution as a whole is making victorious prog- 
ress? Does it not imply a "surrender of positions", an 
"admission of defeat", or something of that sort? Of course, 
our enemies — from the semi-feudal type of reactionaries to 
the Mensheviks or other knights of the Two-and-a-Half 
International — say that it does. They would not be enemies 
if they did not shout something of the sort on every pre- 
text, and even without any pretext. The touching unanimity 
that prevails on this question among all parties, from the 
feudal reactionaries to the Mensheviks, is only further 
proof that all these parties constitute "one reactionary 
mass" opposed to the proletarian revolution (as Engels 



foresaw in his letters to Bebel of 1875 and 1884— be it said 
in parenthesis). 29 

But there is "perplexity", shall we say, among friends, too. 

Restore large-scale industry, organise the direct exchange 
of its goods for the produce of small-peasant farming, and 
thus assist the socialisation of the latter. For the purpose 
of restoring large-scale industry, borrow from the peasants 
a certain quantity of foodstuffs and raw materials by 
requisitioning — this was the plan (or method, system) that 
we followed for more than three years, up to the spring 
of 1921. This was a revolutionary approach to the problem — 
to break up the old social-economic system completely 
at one stroke and to substitute a new one for it. 

Since the spring of 1921, instead of this approach, plan, 
method, or mode of action, we have been adopting (we 
have not yet "adopted" but are still "adopting", and have 
not yet fully realised it) a totally different method, a 
reformist type of method: not to break up the old social- 
economic system — trade, petty production, petty proprietor- 
ship, capitalism — but to revive trade, petty proprietorship, 
capitalism, while cautiously and gradually getting the 
upper hand over them, or making it possible to subject them 
to state regulation only to the extent that they revive. 

That is an entirely different approach to the problem. 

Compared with the previous, revolutionary, approach, 
it is a reformist approach (revolution is a change which 
breaks the old order to its very foundations, and not one 
that cautiously, slowly and gradually remodels it, taking 
care to break as little as possible). 

The question that arises is this. If, after trying revo- 
lutionary methods, you find they have failed and adopt 
reformist methods, does it not prove that you are declaring 
the revolution to have been a mistake in general? Does it 
not prove that you should not have started with the revo- 
lution but should have started with reforms and confined 
yourselves to them? 

That is the conclusion which the Mensheviks and others 
like them have drawn. But this conclusion is either 
sophistry, a mere fraud perpetrated by case-hardened 
politicians, or it is the childishness of political tyros. The 
greatest, perhaps the only danger to the genuine revolutionary 



is that of exaggerated revolutionism, ignoring the limits and 
conditions in which revolutionary methods are appropriate 
and can be successfully employed. True revolutionaries 
have mostly come a cropper when they began to write 
"revolution" with a capital R, to elevate "revolution" to 
something almost divine, to lose their heads, to lose the 
ability to reflect, weigh and ascertain in the coolest and 
most dispassionate manner at what moment, under what 
circumstances and in which sphere of action you must act in 
a revolutionary manner, and at what moment, under what 
circumstances and in which sphere you must turn to reform- 
ist action. True revolutionaries will perish (not that they 
will be defeated from outside, but that their work will 
suffer internal collapse) only if they abandon their sober 
outlook and take it into their heads that the "great, vic- 
torious, world" revolution can and must solve all problems 
in a revolutionary manner under all circumstances and in 
all spheres of action. If they do this, their doom is certain. 

Whoever gets such ideas into his head is lost because 
he has foolish ideas about a fundamental problem; and in 
a fierce war (and revolution is the fiercest sort of war) the 
penalty for folly is defeat. 

What grounds are there for assuming that the "great, 
victorious, world" revolution can and must employ only 
revolutionary methods? There are none at all. The assump- 
tion is a pure fallacy; this can be proved by purely theoret- 
ical propositions if we stick to Marxism. The experience 
of our revolution also shows that it is a fallacy. From the 
theoretical point of view — foolish things are done in time 
of revolution just as at any other time, said Engels, 30 and 
he was right. We must try to do as few foolish things as 
possible, and rectify those that are done as quickly as pos- 
sible, and we must, as soberly as we can, estimate which 
problems can be solved by revolutionary methods at any 
given time and which cannot. From the point of view of 
our practical experience the Brest peace was an example 
of action that was not revolutionary at all; it was reform- 
ist, and even worse, because it was a retreat, whereas, as 
a general rule, reformist action advances slowly, cautiously, 
gradually, and does not move backward. The proof that 
our tactics in concluding the Brest peace were correct is 



now so complete, so obvious to all and generally admitted, 
that there is no need to say any more about it. 

Our revolution has completed only its bourgeois-democrat- 
ic work; and we have every right to be proud of this. The 
proletarian or socialist part of its work may be summed up 
in three main points: (1) The revolutionary withdrawal 
from the imperialist world war; the exposure and halting 
of the slaughter organised by the two world groups of capi- 
talist predators — for our part we have done this in full; 
others could have done it only if there had been a revolu- 
tion in a number of advanced countries. (2) The establish- 
ment of the Soviet system, as a form of the dictatorship 
of the proletariat. An epoch-making change has been made. 
The era of bourgeois-democratic parliamentarism has come 
to an end. A new chapter in world history — the era of pro- 
letarian dictatorship — has been opened. The Soviet system 
and all forms of proletarian dictatorship will have the finish- 
ing touches put to them and be completed only by the 
efforts of a number of countries. There is still a great deal 
we have not done in this field. It would be unpardonable 
to lose sight of this. Again and again we shall have to 
improve the work, redo it, start from the beginning. Every 
step onward and upward that we take in developing our 
productive forces and our culture must be accompanied by 
the work of improving and altering our Soviet system — we 
are still low in the scale of economics and culture. Much 
will have to be altered, and to be "embarrassed" by this 
would be absurd (if not worse). (3) The creation of the 
economic basis of the socialist system; the main features 
of what is most important, most fundamental, have not 
yet been completed. This, however, is our soundest basis, 
soundest from the point of view of principle and from the 
practical point of view, from the point of view of the 
R.S.F.S.R. today and from the international point of view. 

Since the main features of this basis have not yet been 
completed we must concentrate all our attention upon it. 
The difficulty here lies in the form of the transition. 

In April 1918, in my Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Gov- 
ernment, 31 I wrote: 

"It is not enough to be a revolutionary and an adherent 
of socialism or a Communist in general. You must be able 



at each particular moment to find the particular link in the 
chain which you must grasp with all your might in order to 
hold the whole chain and to prepare firmly for the transition 
to the next link; the order of the links, their form, the 
manner in which they are linked together, their difference 
from each other in the historical chain of events are not as 
simple and not as senseless as those in an ordinary chain 
made by a smith." 

At the present time, in the sphere of activity with which 
we are dealing, this link is the revival of home trade under 
proper state regulation (direction). Trade is the "link" 
in the historical chain of events, in the transitional forms 
of our socialist construction in 1921-22, which we, the 
proletarian government, we, the ruling Communist Party, 
"must grasp with all our might". If we "grasp" this link 
firmly enough now we shall certainly control the whole 
chain in the very near future. If we do not, we shall not control 
the whole chain, we shall not create the foundation for 
socialist social and economic relations. 

Communism and trade?! It sounds strange. The two 
seem to be unconnected, incongruous, poles apart. But if 
we study it from the point of view of economics, we shall 
find that the one is no more remote from the other than 
communism is from small-peasant, patriarchal farming. 

When we are victorious on a world scale I think we shall 
use gold for the purpose of building public lavatories in 
the streets of some of the largest cities of the world. This 
would be the most "just" and most educational way of 
utilising gold for the benefit of those generations which 
have not forgotten how, for the sake of gold, ten million 
men were killed and thirty million maimed in the "great 
war for freedom", the war of 1914-18, the war that was 
waged to decide the great question of which peace was the 
worst, that of Brest or that of Versailles; and how, for the 
sake of this same gold, they certainly intend to kill twenty 
million men and to maim sixty million in a war, say, in 
1925, or 1928, between, say, Japan and the U.S.A., or 
between Britain and the U.S.A., or something like that. 

But however "just", useful, or humane it would be to 
utilise gold for this purpose, we nevertheless say that we 
must work for another decade or two with the same intensity 



and with the same success as in the 1917-21 period, only in 
a much wider field, in order to reach this state. Meanwhile, 
we must save the gold in the R.S.F.S.R., sell it at the 
highest price, buy goods with it at the lowest price. When 
you live among wolves, you must howl like a wolf, while 
as for exterminating all the wolves, as should be done in 
a rational human society, we shall act up to the wise Rus- 
sian proverb: "Boast not before but after the battle". 

Trade is the only possible economic link between the 
scores of millions of small farmers and large-scale industry 
if ... if there is not alongside these farmers an excellently 
equipped large-scale machine industry with a network of 
power transmission lines, an industry whose technical equip- 
ment, organisational "superstructures" and other features 
are sufficient to enable it to supply the small farmers with 
the best goods in larger quantities, more quickly and more 
cheaply than before. On a world scale this "if" has already 
been achieved, this condition already exists. But the 
country, formerly one of the most backward capitalist coun- 
tries, which tried alone directly and at one stroke to create, 
to put into use, to organise practically the new links 
between industry and agriculture, failed to achieve this task 
by "direct assault", and must now try to achieve it by a 
number of slow, gradual, and cautious "siege" operations. 

The proletarian government can control trade, direct 
it into definite channels, keep it within certain limits. 
I shall give a small, a very small example. In the Donets 
Basin a slight, still very slight, but undoubted revival in 
the economy has commenced, partly due to a rise in the 
productivity of labour at the large state mines, and partly 
due to the leasing of small mines to peasants. As a result, 
the proletarian government is receiving a small additional 
quantity (a miserably small quantity compared with what 
is obtained in the advanced countries, but an appreciable 
quantity considering our poverty-stricken condition) of 
coal at a cost of, say, 100; and it is selling this coal to 
various government departments at a price of, say, 120, and 
to private individuals at a price of, say, 140. (I must say 
in parenthesis that my figures are quite arbitrary, first 
because I do not know the exact figures, and, secondly, 
I would not now make them public even if I did.) This looks 



as if we are beginning, if only in very modest dimensions, 
to control exchange between industry and agriculture, to 
control wholesale trade, to cope with the task of taking 
in hand the available, small, backward industry, or large- 
scale but weakened and ruined industry; of reviving trade 
on the present economic basis; of making the ordinary 
middle peasant (and that is the typical peasant, the peasant 
in the mass, the true representative of the petty-bourgeois 
milieu) feel the benefit of the economic revival; of taking 
advantage of it for the purpose of more systematically and 
persistently, more widely and successfully restoring large- 
scale industry. 

We shall not surrender to "sentimental socialism", or 
to the old Russian, semi-aristocratic, semi-muzhik and 
patriarchal mood, with their supreme contempt for trade. 
We can use, and, since it is necessary, we must learn to use, 
all transitional economic forms for the purpose of strength- 
ening the link between the peasantry and the proletariat, 
for the purpose of immediately reviving the economy of 
our ruined and tormented country, of improving industry, 
and facilitating such future, more extensive and more 
deep-going, measures as electrification. 

Marxism alone has precisely and correctly defined the 
relation of reforms to revolution, although Marx was able 
to see this relation only from one aspect — under the con- 
ditions preceding the first to any extent permanent and 
lasting victory of the proletariat, if only in one country. 
Under those conditions, the basis of the proper relation 
was that reforms are a by-product of the revolutionary class 
struggle of the proletariat. Throughout the capitalist world 
this relation is the foundation of the revolutionary tactics 
of the proletariat — the ABC, which is being distorted and 
obscured by the corrupt leaders of the Second International 
and the half-pedantic and half-finicky knights of the Two- 
and-a-Half International. After the victory of the prole- 
tariat, if only in one country, something new enters into the 
relation between reforms and revolution. In principle, it 
is the same as before, but a change in form takes place, 
which Marx himself could not foresee, but which can be 
appreciated only on the basis of the philosophy and pol- 
itics of Marxism. Why were we able to carry out the Brest 



retreat successfully? Because we had advanced so far that 
we had room in which to retreat. At such dizzy speed, in a 
few weeks, from October 25, 1917, to the Brest peace, we built 
up the Soviet state, withdrew from the imperialist war in a 
revolutionary manner and completed the bourgeois-democratic 
revolution so that even the great backward movement (the 
Brest peace) left us sufficient room in which to take advant- 
age of the "respite" and to march forward victoriously 
against Kolchak, Denikin, Yudenich, Pilsudski and Wrangel. 

Before the victory of the proletariat, reforms are a by- 
product of the revolutionary class struggle. After the vic- 
tory (while still remaining a "by-product" on an international 
scale) they are, in addition, for the country in which victory 
has been achieved, a necessary and legitimate breathing 
space when, after the utmost exertion of effort, it becomes 
obvious that sufficient strength is lacking for the revolution- 
ary accomplishment of some transition or another. Victory 
creates such a "reserve of strength" that it is possible to 
hold out even in a forced retreat, hold out both materially 
and morally. Holding out materially means preserving 
a sufficient superiority of forces to prevent the enemy from 
inflicting utter defeat. Holding out morally means not 
allowing oneself to become demoralised and disorganised, 
keeping a sober view of the situation, preserving vigour 
and firmness of spirit, even retreating a long way, but not 
too far, and in such a way as to stop the retreat in time 
and revert to the offensive. 

We retreated to state capitalism, but we did not retreat 
too far. We are now retreating to the state regulation of 
trade, but we shall not retreat too far. There are visible 
signs that the retreat is coming to an end; there are signs 
that we shall be able to stop this retreat in the not too 
distant future. The more conscious, the more unanimous, 
the more free from prejudice we are in carrying out this neces- 
sary retreat, the sooner shall we be able to stop it, and 
the more lasting, speedy and extensive will be our subse- 
quent victorious advance. 

November 5, 1921 

Pravda No. 251, 
November 6-7, 1921 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 


NOVEMBER 6, 1921 32 


{The entire audience rises. Prolonged applause.) If we 
glance back over the past four years we see that in no 
country of the world but Russia have the proletariat won 
complete victory over the bourgeoisie. But if we have been 
successful it is only because the peasants and workers knew 
they were fighting for their land and their rule. The war 
against Denikin, Wrangel and Kolchak was the first 
occasion in history when the working people fought success- 
fully against their oppressors. The second cause of our 
victory is that the Entente could not fling sufficient num- 
bers of loyal troops against Russia, as the soldiers of France 
and the sailors of Britain did not want to go and oppress 
their brothers. 

Four years have enabled us to perform a miracle without 
parallel, in that a starving, weak and half-ruined country 
has defeated its enemies — the mighty capitalist countries. 

We have won a strong position for ourselves in the world, 
one without parallel and totally unforeseen. What still 
remains is the tremendous task of setting our national 
economy going. All that we have achieved goes to show 
that we base ourselves on the most wonderful force in the 
world — that of the workers and peasants. This makes us 
confident that we shall meet our next anniversary with 
victory on the labour front. 

Pravda No. 252, 
November 9, 1921 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 


NOVEMBER 7, 1921 

{The orchestra plays "The Internationale" . General 
applause.) Comrades, I cannot share with you reminiscences 
that would be as instructive and interesting as those of the 
comrades who were present in Moscow and personally 
engaged in this or that struggle. I was not in Moscow at the 
time, so I think I shall confine myself to a brief message of 

One of the previous comrades finished his speech with 
an appeal for the workers themselves to work hard in trade 
union and Soviet bodies and to put all their energies into 
that work. I should like to support that appeal. 

Comrades, during these four years we have experienced 
an unparalleled struggle. And had we been told four years 
ago that the foreign worker was not so near to world 
revolution, that we would have to wage bitter civil war for 
three years, nobody at that time would have believed that 
we would withstand it. However, even though we were 
attacked on all sides, we withstood the onslaught, and if 
we succeeded in doing so it was not because some miracle 
took place (for intelligent people don't believe in miracles), 
but because the troops that were sent against us were 
unreliable. Had the British not departed from Archangel 
and the French sailors not left Odessa, and had the foreign 
worker dressed in soldier's uniform and sent against us 
not become a sympathiser of Soviet rule, we would not 
be guaranteed even now against the possibility of an offen- 
sive against us . But we are not afraid of that, because we 



know that we have many allies in every country . And the com- 
rade who appealed to you here to work as a team was right, 
and I whole-heartedly support him, because you know that 
famine has attacked us at our most difficult hour, and the 
capitalists of the whole world are trying to use this situa- 
tion to drive us into bondage. But there are masses of work- 
ers who are making it possible for us to carry on the fight 
against them. 

Take, for example, the seed help being given to the peas- 
ants. You know that the surplus-food appropriation system 
has been replaced by a tax in kind, and you can now see 
how well that tax and the seed loan are coming in. 

The other day we discussed how to help the peasants 
of the famine-stricken areas to sow the spring-crop fields, 
and we found that the quantity of seeds possessed by the 
state is far from enough to sow even as much as was sown 
this year. To do that the state needs 30 million poods of 
grain, whereas the tax in kind will only yield us 15 million 
poods, so that we shall have to buy the remaining 15 million 
poods abroad. Lately we have seen that the British bour- 
geoisie are campaigning for the cancellation of the trade 
agreement with Soviet Russia, but the British workers 
are opposed to that. We know that agreements are being 
concluded with other countries, and difficult as it may be to 
purchase 15 million poods of grain, we shall be able to do so. 

In all foreign countries we see industrial crises and unem- 
ployment on a huge scale. Germany, crushed by the shame- 
less Versailles Treaty, has been forced for long out of 
the international arena. She has been crushed to such an 
extent by the Versailles peace that she cannot trade. The 
Allies concluded the unprecedented Versailles peace, and 
in spite of it are perishing themselves. 

Our economic position is improving with every passing day. 

What I would ask is that you respond to the previous 
comrade's appeal and work harder inside our country. The 
necessity for doing so must be fully appreciated, for we 
are working to improve the peasants' husbandry, and that 
requires far greater effort than before. We are confident 
that we shall be able to do this. (Applause. The orchestra 
plays "The Internationale".) 

Published for the first time 
from the stenographic record 


NOVEMBER 7, 1921 


Comrade Lenin cited vivid examples showing that Soviet 
power was day by day gaining ever greater significance in 
the minds of the working people and was giving them ever 
greater proof that it is the power of the working people 

The man with a gun — who was the terror of the working 
people in the past," said Comrade Lenin, "is no longer a 
terror for he is now a representative of the Red Army, and 
is their protector." 

Pravda No. 254, 
November 11, 1921 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 




In the spring of 1919 I spoke at a meeting of Petrograd 
workers. As usual, a verbatim report of the speech was taken, 
and, as usual, it was taken very badly — or perhaps the 
report was not so bad, but I, as usual, spoke badly. Be 
that as it may — reported badly or delivered badly — the 
speech was published, as usual. 

Knowing and feeling all these "badlies" and "as usuals" 
only too well, I, soon after, sent the Petrograd comrades 
the following "postscript" to my speech (which, if I remem- 
ber rightly, was published under the title of Achievements 
and Difficulties of the Soviet Government 34 ): 


"After spending no little effort in correcting the verbatim 
report of my speech, I am compelled to make the following 
urgent request to all comrades who want to report my 
speeches for the press. 

"My request is that they should never rely on the short- 
hand or any other verbatim reports of my speeches, never 
make any endeavour to obtain such reports, and never 
publish such reports of my speeches. 

"Instead of publishing the verbatim reports of my speech- 
es, let them, if necessary, publish summaries of them. I 
have seen such summaries of my speeches in the newspapers 
that were satisfactory; but I have never seen a single verba- 
tim report of my speech that was at all satisfactory. Whether 



this is due to the fact that I speak too fast, or that I do not 
construct my sentences properly, or to some other reason, I 
will not undertake to say; but the fact remains that I have 
never seen a single satisfactory shorthand or any other ver- 
batim report of my speech. 

"A good summary of a speech is better than a bad verba- 
tim report. That is why I request that no verbatim reports of 
my speeches should ever be published. April 17, 1919. 
N. Lenin." 

I sent this postscript to Petrograd with the following note: 
"I earnestly request the Petrograd comrades to publish 
the enclosed as a preface, or postscript, to my speech, at least 
in the smallest type. April 17. Lenin." 

The reader will note the polite, almost pleading tone in 
which I begged the Petrograd comrades to publish these few 
lines "at least in the smallest type". As usual, the Petrograd 
comrades — headed by Comrade Zinoviev — "let me down", 
to use the mildest term I can think of. As usual, the Petrograd 
comrades are extremely fond of doing everything they can 
to display their self-reliance and independence — even going 
to the length of not granting an author's request, which is 
considered an obligatory duty by all people, comrades and 
citizens in all countries and in all republics, including even 
Soviet republics (with the exception of independent Petro- 
grad). When I found that the Petrograd comrades had not 
fulfilled my request, I complained bitterly to Comrade 
Zinoviev; but the latter, as usual, answered, "It's done now 
and cannot be changed. Besides, how could we publish a 
postscript in which you discredit your own pamphlet." Thus 
... "independence" was augmented by cunning, and I was 
made to feel foolish. 

Recently I had other cases of badly delivered or (perhaps 
I should say "and") badly recorded speeches. These were the 
speeches I made at the Second All-Russia Congress of 
Political Education Departments and at the Moscow 
Gubernia Party Conference. Taught by bitter experience I 
have now decided to act in a less "pleading" manner. Among 
my papers I have found my old preface of April 17, 1919, and 
am publishing it as a preface to my two articles. I am not 
publishing the two speeches mentioned for the reasons I have 
already stated. 



Let truth prevail — better late than never. And it will 
prevail in many respects: in that the Petrograd comrades will 
be punished, even if to some slight degree, considering their 
offence, for their excessive "independence" and cunning; 
in that the reading public will at last realise most precisely, 
vividly and palpably how bad the verbatim reports of my 
speeches are; and in that those who are interested to learn 
my opinion about one of the most important tasks of the 
day in the sphere of our New Economic Policy will obtain 
an exact text of what I really wanted to say, and really did 

N. Lenin 

November 16, 1921 

First published in 1930 

Published according to 
proofs corrected by Lenin 




My wish to the newly-opened Azerbaijan State Bank is 
that it should be a firm bulwark of the New Economic Policy 
in the hands of the workers and peasants of the fraternal Soviet 
republic. The donation of 40 millions to the famine 
victims on the Volga and in Kurdistan is the best proof of 
the preparedness to march under the banner of the Red 
International of working people. 


Chairman of the Council 
of People's Commissars of the R.S.F.S.R. 

Written not earlier than 
November 17, 1921 

Published for the first time 

Published according to 
the manuscript signed by Lenin 



A Dozen Knives in the Back of the Revolution, Paris, 
1921. This small volume of stories was written by the white- 
guard Arkady Averchenko, whose rage rises to the pitch of 
frenzy. It is interesting to note how his burning hatred brings 
out the remarkably strong and also the remarkably weak 
points of this extremely capably written book. When the 
author takes for his stories subjects he is unfamiliar with, they 
are inartistic. An example is the story showing the home 
life of Lenin and Trotsky. There is much malice, but little 
truth in it, my dear Citizen Averchenko! I assure you that 
Lenin and Trotsky have many faults in all respects, includ- 
ing their home life. But to describe them skilfully one must 
know what they are. This you do not know. 

But most of the stories in the book deal with subjects 
Arkady Averchenko is very familiar with, has experienced, 
given thought to and felt. He depicts with amazing skill 
the impressions and moods of the representative of the old, 
rich, gorging and guzzling Russia of the landowners and capi- 
talists. That is exactly what the revolution must look like 
to the representatives of the ruling classes. Averchenko's 
burning hatred makes some — in fact most — of his stories 
amazingly vivid. There are some really magnificent stories, 
as, for example, "Grass Trampled by Jackboots", which 
deals with the psychology of children who have lived and 
are living through the Civil War. 

But the author shows real depth of feeling only when he 
talks about food; when he relates how the rich people fed 
in old Russia, how they had snacks in Petrograd — no, not 
in Petrograd, in St. Petersburg — costing fourteen and a 
half rubles, fifty rubles, etc. He describes all this in really 



voluptuous terms. These things he knows well; these things 
he has experienced; here he makes no mistakes. His knowl- 
edge of the subject and his sincerity are most extraordinary. 

In his last story, "Fragments of the Shattered", he de- 
scribes an ex-Senator in the Crimea, in Sevastopol, who was 
"rich, generous and well-connected", but who is "now a day 
labourer at the artillery dumps, unloading and sorting shells", 
and an ex-director of a "vast steel plant which was con- 
sidered to be the largest works in Vyborg District. Now he is a 
salesman at a shop which sells second-hand goods on commis- 
sion, and has lately even acquired a certain amount of 
experience in fixing the price of ladies' second-hand robes 
and plush teddy-bears that people bring to be sold on com- 

The two old fogies recall the old days, the St. Petersburg 
sunsets, the streets, the theatres and, of course, the meals 
at the "Medved", "Vienna", "Maly Yaroslavets", and simi- 
lar restaurants. And they interrupt their reminiscences to 
exclaim: "What have we done to deserve this? How did we 
get in anyone's way? Who did we interfere with?... Why did 
they treat Russia so?"... 

Arkady Averchenko is not the one to understand why. The 
workers and peasants, however, seem to understand quite 
easily and need no explanations. 

In my opinion some of these stories are worth reprinting. 
Talent should be encouraged. 

Pravda No. 263, 
November 2, 1921 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 



November 28 

Comrade Stalin, in the main I agree with you, but I feel 
that the wording should be somewhat amended. 

1) While a federation of Transcaucasian republics is 
absolutely correct in principle, and should be implemented 
without fail, its immediate practical realisation must be 
regarded as premature, i.e., a certain period of time will 
be required for its discussion, propagation and adoption 
by lower Soviet bodies; 

2) the Central Committees of Georgia, Armenia and Azer- 
baijan shall be instructed (through the Caucasian Bureau) 
to submit the federation question for broad discussion in the 
Party and by the worker and peasant masses, conduct vigor- 
ous propaganda in favour of a federation and secure deci- 
sions to that effect by the congresses of Soviets in each of 
these republics. Should serious opposition arise, the Political 
Bureau of the C.C., R.C.P. must be informed accurately and 
in good time. 


Written on November 28, 1921 

First published, in abridged form, 
in 1923 in the book Dvenadtsaty 
syezd R.K.P.(B.) (Twelfth Congress 
of the Russian Communist Party 
[Bolsheviks]), April 17-25, 1923. 
Bulletins. Moscow, Publishing 
House at the All-Russia Central 
Executive Committee 

Published in full 
for the first time, 
according to the manuscript 


NOVEMBER 29, 1921 35 

Comrades, permit me first of all to greet your Congress 
on behalf of the Council of People's Commissars. I very 
much regret that I am unable to deliver a comprehensive 
report to the Congress, as should be the case, and to stay 
behind to hear the reports and, in particular, the speeches 
that will be made here by representatives from the localities, 
by those who are directly engaged in farming, who are 
directly interested in promoting agriculture and are able to 
give essential practical pointers. I shall therefore have to limit 
myself, in addition to conveying general greetings, to a 
brief statement on the exceptional importance of the work 
of your Congress. 

You all know, comrades, that the fundamental problem, 
the problem that all present circumstances have made one 
of the cardinal problems of the home and foreign policy of 
our Republic, is that of promoting the economy in general 
and agriculture in particular. All the signs indicate that 
now, after the bitter years of the imperialist war and after 
the victorious Civil War, a deep-going change is taking place 
among the peasant masses, and that deep down among them 
there is the realisation that it is no longer possible to carry 
on in the old way. The principal task now confronting us is 
to make known to the peasant masses what has been achieved 
by a small number of peasants and to make available 
to tens of millions knowledge that under our low level of 
scientific farming has been inadequately disseminated among 
them. There are a number of signs indicating the desire to 
reorganise their farms and improve farming methods which 


the peasants feel more profoundly, widely and acutely than 
ever before; and we should see to it that agricultural con- 
gresses like the present one are held more frequently and 
that their results have a practical effect in the immediate 

The greatest disaster that has befallen us this year is the 
famine in a number of gubernias and also the drought, which, 
evidently, may threaten us again, if not next year, then in 
the next few years. In this connection the key task, not only 
of agriculture but of the whole economy, is to secure a radi- 
cal and immediate practical improvement of agriculture. 
That can be done only if the realisation that farming must 
be improved penetrates the mass of peasants engaged in farm- 
ing. We shall be able to overcome and defeat the famine 
and secure an improvement of peasant farming only if the 
improvements that have been begun on a very large scale 
spread to all gubernias without exception. The work of a 
small number of specialists, a number that is insignificant 
compared with the masses of peasants, cannot be productive 
if it is not brought close to the practical tasks of agriculture. 
Congresses like yours must be held in all gubernias and must 
influence the peasant masses. The basic, I would even say 
political, necessity (because all political problems, inas- 
much as our international position has improved, now run in 
a single channel) is now that of boosting farm productivity 
at all costs. An increase of its productivity must definitely 
result in an improvement in industry and in an improvement 
in the supplies of all necessary items to peasant farms — 
items of personal consumption and implements of production, 
machines, without which there can be no guaranteed living 
standard for the worker and peasant masses. 

Comrades, you have heard here the report made by Com- 
rade Osinsky on general economic policy and, as I have 
been told, the report of Comrade Mesyatsev on land tenure. 
I repeat that the practical suggestions that will be made 
by those directly engaged in farming, by the peasants them- 
selves, are of the utmost value to us. The experience that you 
have brought with you and which will become available 
to the broadest masses is of extraordinary importance and 
value to us. Moscow Gubernia is, however, in an almost 
unique position because Moscow peasants can exchange 



experiences with the central authorities and with farming 
specialists — this exchange has been possible and easier for 
them; the work and results of your Congress have an impor- 
tance that goes far beyond the bounds of Moscow Gubernia. 
The most formidable danger will arise if the link with science 
is allowed to weaken; Moscow Gubernia peasants must, 
therefore, regard their experiments and the improvements 
in farming they have achieved as the first steps along that 
road and bring them to the knowledge of all the peasants. 
This is what I should like to draw your attention to: the 
experiments and the conclusions which you will draw here 
should not only enable you to make further progress on your 
own farms but should be transmitted to the peasants of the 
most remote gubernias. 

All the questions that have been raised here: the ques- 
tions of farmsteads, in short, all the questions connected 
with land tenure, are important for a much broader field; 
for us representatives of the centre, it is very important to 
know your opinion on these questions. We plan to approach 
them on the basis of practical experience. It is most impor- 
tant and basic for our peasant masses to realise the need to 
improve peasant farming, and for you yourselves to discuss 
thoroughly the practical steps that have been taken. We shall 
take note of everything you say here and will take your 
experience into account when we implement practical measu- 
res. I repeat, your experience must become known in the most 
remote gubernias. That is what we regard as particularly 
important in your work. 

In conclusion let me once again convey greetings from the 
Council of People's Commissars, and wish you every success 
in your work. (Applause.) 

Brief report published Published in full for the first 

in Pravda No. 270, time, according to the stenogra- 

November 30, 1921 phic record checked with the 

newspaper text 



Apropos of the theses on the agrarian question published 
over the signature of the Central Committee (he comite 
directeur) of the Communist Party of France in La Voix 
Paysanne (Peasant Voice) 36 No. 95 of November 19, 1921, 
I may say the following: 

It seems to me that the main ideas of the theses are quite 
correct, that they correspond to the decisions of the congresses 
of the Comintern, and that they are very well formulated. 
These ideas are: (1) that a revolution is necessary if new 
imperialist wars are to be averted; (2) that the pacifist and 
Wilson ideology has been defeated; (3) that it is absolutely 
necessary to draw up an agrarian "programme of transition- 
al measures" (un programme transitoire) to communism, 
adapted to the peasants' voluntary transition to the social- 
isation of farming, that will, at the same time, ensure an 
immediate improvement in the condition of the vast majority 
of the rural population, the hired labourers and small peas- 
ants; (4) the immediate confiscation, i.e., expropriation 
without compensation (sans indemnite), both of lands 
lying fallow (les terres arables en friche) and of lands 
cultivated by the labour of coloni, tenant farmers or hired 
labourers (les terres mises en valeur par les colons, fermiers 
ou salaries); (5) the transfer of these lands to the whole body 
of workers who now cultivate them in order that these work- 
ers form "producers' co-operative societies" (cooperatives 
de production) in conformity with the provisions of the new 
agrarian legislation; (6) the unconditional permanent (and 
hereditary) tenure of their lands by the "small proprietors 
who cultivate their lands themselves" (les petits proprietaires 



exploitant eux-memes); (7) the need to ensure "continuous 
and increasing production" in agriculture ("continuite et 
augmentation de la production'); (8) the need for a number 
of measures for the systematic "communist education of 
the peasantry" {"education communiste de la classe pay- 
sanne") . 

Being in complete agreement with these main ideas in 
the theses, I can only make the following few general obser- 
vations about them. 

1. The first part of the theses deals with the question: 
"war or revolution." Here it says among other things, and 
quite rightly, that "the events of the last few years have 
killed the pacifist and Wilson ideology" ("/es evenements 
des dernieres annees ont tue I'ideologie pacifiste et wilson- 

In order to dispel these pacifist illusions completely 
I think we should speak not only of war in general, but also 
of the specifically imperialist nature of the war of 1914-18, 
and of the war now in preparation between America and 
Japan with the probable participation of Great Britain and 

There is no doubt that only the proletarian revolution 
can and certainly will put a stop to all war. But it would 
be a pacifist illusion to think that a victorious proletarian 
revolution in one country, say France, could put a stop to 
all war once and for all. 

The experience of Russia has vividly dispelled this illu- 
sion. This experience has shown that only by means of a 
revolution were we able to extricate ourselves from the 
imperialist war, and that the Russian workers and peasants 
have gained immensely by their revolution despite the Civil 
War forced upon them by the capitalists of all countries. 
Just as reactionary wars, and imperialist wars in particular, 
are criminal and fatal (and among imperialist wars must be 
included the war France waged in 1914-18; the Treaty of 
Versailles has very vividly demonstrated this), so revolution- 
ary wars are legitimate and just — i.e., wars waged against 
the capitalists in defence of the oppressed classes, wars 
against the oppressors in defence of the nations oppressed by 
the imperialists of a handful of countries, wars in defence of 
the socialist revolution against foreign invaders. The more 


clearly the masses of workers and peasants of France under- 
stand this the less probable and less prolonged will be the 
inevitable attempts of the French, British and other capi- 
talists to crush the revolution of the workers and peasants 
of France by means of war. In present-day Europe, after 
the victory Soviet Russia has achieved over all the capital- 
ist countries which supported Denikin, Kolchak, Wrangel, 
Yudenich and Pilsudski — in present-day Europe, in view 
of the outrageous and shameless throttling of Germany 
by the Treaty of Versailles, a civil war waged by the French 
capitalists against a victorious socialist revolution in France 
can only be of very short duration and a thousand times less 
arduous for the French workers and peasants than the Civil 
War was for the Russian. Nevertheless, it is absolutely 
necessary to distinguish clearly between imperialist wars — 
wars for the division of capitalist loot, wars to strangle 
small and weak nations — and revolutionary wars — wars of 
defence against the counter-revolutionary capitalists, wars 
to throw off the capitalist yoke. 

In the light of the foregoing considerations I think that 
instead of what is said in the theses about "war or revolu- 
tion", it would be more correct to say approximately the 

The events of the last few years have revealed the utter 
falsity and fraud of the pacifist and Wilson ideology. This 
fraud must be thoroughly exposed. The war of 1914-18 was an 
imperialist, predatory and reactionary war not only on 
the part of Germany, but also on the part of France. This 
has been most vividly demonstrated by the Treaty of Ver- 
sailles, which is even more brutal and revolting than the 
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The new war now in preparation 
between America and Japan (or Great Britain), and which is 
unavoidable if capitalism continues to exist, will inevi- 
tably involve capitalist France, for she is implicated in all 
the imperialist crimes, atrocities and villainies of the present 
imperialist era. Either another war or a series of wars to 
"defend" French imperialism, or a socialist revolution — 
there is no other choice before the workers and peasants 
of France. They will not allow themselves to be intimidated 
by the tales of the counter-revolutionary capitalists about 
the hardships of the Civil War which they forced upon 



Soviet Russia. The workers and peasants of France proved 
that they were capable of waging a legitimate, just and revo- 
lutionary war against their feudal aristocracy when the lat- 
ter wanted to crush the great French Revolution of the eight- 
eenth century. They will be able to wage a similarly legiti- 
mate, just and revolutionary war against the French capital- 
ists when the latter become emigres and organise foreign 
invasion against the French Socialist Republic. It will be 
easier for the French workers and peasants to crush their 
exploiters because the whole of Europe, exhausted, torment- 
ed and Balkanised by the atrocious Treaty of Versailles, 
will, directly or indirectly, be on their side. 

2. I think that the statement in the next part of the theses 
that "the impending revolution in France (cette revolution 
que nous devons faire) will in a way be a premature revolu- 
tion" (sera en quelque sorte une revolution avant terme) is 
wrong, as is also the following statement: 

"The concentration of property proclaimed by Marxist 
theoreticians did not proceed according to rule in agricul- 
ture" (La concentration de la propriete annoncee par les theo- 
riciens du marxisme ne s'est pas produite avec regularite 
dans 1' agriculture). 

That is wrong; and it is not the view of Marx or of Marx- 
ism, but the view of those "theoreticians" of quasi-"Marx- 
ism" who were responsible for the shameful breakdown 
of the Second International in 1914. It is the view of the 
pseudo-Marxists who in 1914 deserted to the side of "their" 
national bourgeoisie, and who were derided long ago by none 
other than Jules Guesde when he opposed Millerand in the 
press and said that the future Millerands would be on the 
side of "their" capitalists in the impending war for the divi- 
sion of the capitalist loot. 

Marx did not regard concentration in agriculture as a 
simple and straightforward process. Proof of this will be 
found in Volume III of Capital, and in the article Engels 
wrote in the 1890s in opposition to the French agrarian pro- 
gramme 37 of that time. Marx did not consider that the prole- 
tarian revolution would be "opportune" only when the last 
peasant had been expropriated. Let us leave it to the 
Hyndmans, Renaudels, Vanderveldes and Siidekums, to 


Messieurs Turati and Serrati to interpret Marx's view in 
this way. 

My advice would be to delete these statements for they 
are incorrect, unnecessary, and discredit the French Commu- 
nists. They are not needed to prove the practically and theo- 
retically important and correct main idea that the immediate 
application (V application immediate) of integral commu- 
nism to small-peasant farming (by no means in France only, 
but in all countries where small-peasant husbandry exists) 
would be a profound error. 

Instead of making these incorrect statements it would 
be better to explain in greater detail why the wealth the 
French peasants accumulated during the war cannot be 
lasting, why the money they accumulated during the war is 
depreciating, why the oppression of both the workers and 
the peasants of France by the big banks is increasing, what 
forms this increased oppression is taking, and so forth. 

3. The theses go on to say that according to pre-war 
statistics there were in France 5,700,000 farms (exploita- 
tions rurales), of which 4,850,000 were small farms (up to 10 
hectares) and 850,000 had over 10 hectares of land each. 
These figures show, state the theses, how unevenly the land 
is distributed in France. And they go on to say: "But these 
figures do not give us an exact idea ("mais Us [ces chiffres] 
ne fournissent aucune precision...") of the ratio between the 
area of the lands cultivated by their owners and the lands 
that serve as a source of capitalist profit" (..."sur le rapport 
qui existe entre Vetendue des terres travaillees par leurs pro- 
prietaires et des terres source de profit capitaliste"). 

Firstly, in France (as in every other capitalist country) the 
lands cultivated by their owners also serve as a "source 
of capitalist profit". Theoretically it would have been more 
correct, and practically more useful to have explained in 
the theses of the Communist Party of France the forms this 
profit takes rather than to have said that the concentration 
of property does not proceed "according to rule" ("avec 
regularite") in agriculture. 

Secondly, it is true that French farming statistics are poor, 
inferior to the German, U.S., Swiss and Danish, and that 
they do not give an exact idea of the area of land cultivated 
on capitalist lines. It is also true, as is stated further on in the 



theses, that farms with less than 10 hectares of land some- 
times employ hired labour and that peasant owners 
sometimes cultivate by their own efforts "farms of 20, 30 
and more hectares of land" ("cfes fermes de 20, 30 hectares et 

Although from the French agrarian statistics one cannot 
get an idea of the exact area of land cultivated on capitalist 
lines, one can, nevertheless, obtain an approximation. I have 
neither Compere-Morel's book, nor any other sources at 
hand; but I remember that in the French statistics farms 
with 40 and more hectares of land are given separately. It 
would be very useful to quote these figures to show the small 
peasants of France more strikingly what a vast amount of 
land the French capitalists and landowners have grabbed 
(from the workers and from them). In the agrarian theses one 
can (and must, in my opinion) demonstrate more vividly 
with the aid of French agrarian statistics (and the statistics 
compiled by Compere-Morel — when he was still a socialist 
and not a champion of the capitalists and of their predatory 
war of 1914-18 and of their predatory Treaty of Versailles) 
that the vast majority of the rural population of France 
would gain at once, immediately and very considerably from 
a proletarian revolution. 

4. My last observation concerns the points of the theses 
which speak of the need to increase the output of agricul- 
tural produce and the importance of modern machines (des 
machines modernes), particularly threshing machines (les 
batteuses), tractor ploughs (les charrues a tracteur), etc. 

All these statements in the theses are undoubtedly correct 
and necessary from the practical point of view. I think, how- 
ever, that we should not confine ourselves to the ordinary 
capitalist technique, but should take a step beyond that. A few 
words should have been said about the need for planned 
and complete electrification of the whole of France, and to 
show that it is absolutely impossible to do this for the benefit 
of the workers and peasants unless bourgeois rule is over- 
thrown and power is seized by the proletariat. French liter- 
ature contains no little data on the importance of electrifi- 
cation for France. I know that a small part of this data is 
quoted in the plan for the electrification of Russia that was 
drawn up by order of our government, and that since the 


war considerable progress has been made in France towards 
the technical solution of the problem of electrification. 

In my opinion it is extremely important both from the 
theoretical and from the practical propaganda point of view 
to say in the theses (and generally to enlarge on it in our 
communist literature) that modern advanced technology 
imperatively calls for the electrification of the whole country — 
and of a number of neighbouring countries — under a single 
plan; that this is quite feasible at the present time; that agri- 
culture, and particularly the peasantry, stand to gain most 
from this; that as long as capitalism and private owner- 
ship of the means of production exist, the electrification of 
a whole country, or a series of countries, firstly, cannot be 
carried out speedily and according to plan, and secondly, 
cannot benefit the workers and peasants. Under capitalism, 
electrification will inevitably lead to increased oppression 
of the workers and peasants by the big banks. Even before 
the war, not a "narrow-minded Marxist", but none other 
than Lysis — who is now patriotically licking the boots of 
the capitalists — had proved that France was actually gov- 
erned by a financial oligarchy. 

France possesses splendid opportunities for electrification. 
After the victory of the proletariat in France, the small 
peasants particularly will benefit enormously from electrifica- 
tion carried out according to plan and unhindered by the 
private property of big landowners and capitalists. If the 
capitalists remain in power, however, electrification cannot 
possibly be planned and rapid, and in so far as it is carried 
out at all, it will be a means of imposing new fetters on the 
peasants, a new means of enslaving the peasants to the "finan- 
cial oligarchy" which is robbing them today. 

These are the few observations I am able to make on the 
French agrarian theses, which on the whole are, in my 
opinion, quite correct. 

December 11, 1921 

First published in 1922 Published according to 

in The Communist the manuscript 

International No. 20 
Signed: A Russian Communist 



To Zalutsky, Solts and All Members of the Political 


I would say that the facts published on the Party purge 
fully bear out the immense success of that measure despite, 
the rather numerous individual mistakes. I think that the 
decision of the Party Conference should underline both these 
circumstances. I think no date should be set for a repeat 
purge, so as not to tie our hands in any way. 

I would advise the Party Conference to adopt a decision 
on stricter conditions for admission into the Party: a term 
of probation of one and a half years for a worker (regarding 
a person a worker if he worked at least ten years in large- 
scale industry as an ordinary wage-worker and has now been 
working for not less than two or three years) and three years 
for everybody else. 

These periods may be halved in special cases, when devo- 
tion to the Party and communist self-restraint have been 
proved beyond doubt and when 4 /5^hs of the membership in 
the Party bodies deciding the question are satisfied that such 
is the case. 

The same probation period should be established for those 
who have been expelled from the Party under the present 
purge if they have not been expelled for a definite period 
and if they have not been expelled for shameful behaviour. 

Show my letter to your immediate comrades, and if it 
won't be any trouble, send me, c/o Fotieva, your opinion in 
brief, even if it only underlines what you agree or disagree 
with in this letter. 


December 19, 1921 

First published in 1945 Dictated by telephone 

in Lenin Miscellany XXXV Published according to 

the stenographer's notes 




I ask that the question be discussed as to whether the Con- 
gress of Soviets ought to adopt a special resolution against 
the adventurist policy of Poland, Finland and Rumania 
(for a number of reasons it is better to say nothing about 
Japan). In the resolution it must be comprehensively 
explained that no government of Russia (except the Soviet 
Government) has ever recognised or could recognise the crimi- 
nal nature of the imperialist policy in respect of the outlying 
regions of the former Russian Empire pursued both by 
tsarism and by the Provisional Government, which had the 
backing of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. 
The resolution should state in detail how much we have 
shown by deeds that we value both the self-determination 
of nations and peaceful relations with the states that were 
once part of the Russian Empire. Say in detail that we fully 
anticipate a peaceful attitude, not only on the part of the 
workers and peasants of all the countries mentioned, but also 
on the part of a huge section of the reasonable bourgeoisie 
and the governments. In respect of the adventurist elements, 
end up with a sharp threat to the effect that if the adventur- 
ist fooling with gangs similar to the former Savinkov gangs 
does not stop, and if they continue to interfere with our peace- 
ful work, we shall arise in a people's war, and those who take 
part in adventures and banditism will be completely crushed. 

Instruct Trotsky and Chicherin to draw up a draft reso- 

A Congress resolution with such a content would be con- 
venient for mass distribution in all languages. 

December 22, 1921 Lenin 

Dictated by telephone Published (unabridged) 

on December 22 
First published (abridged) in 1945 in 
Lenin Miscellany XXXV 

according to the 
stenographer's notes 
(typewritten copy) 


DECEMBER 23-28,1921 





(Stormy applause. Cries of "Hurrah!", "Long live our 
leader, Comrade Lenin!", "Long live the leader of the world 
proletariat, Comrade Lenin!" Prolonged applause.) Comrades, 
I have to make a report on the foreign and home situation 
of the Republic. This is the first time I have been able to 
make such a report when a whole year has passed without 
one, at any rate large-scale, attack against our Soviet power 
by Russian or foreign capitalists. This is the first year that 
we have been able to enjoy a relative respite from attacks, 
even if for a limited period, and have been able in some 
measure to apply our energies to our chief and fundamental 
tasks, namely, the rehabilitation of our war-ravaged econo- 
my, healing the wounds inflicted on Russia by the exploit- 
ing classes that had been in power, and laying the founda- 
tions for socialist construction. 

First and foremost, in dealing with the question of the 
international position of our Republic, I must repeat what 
I have already said, namely, that a certain equilibrium, 
though a highly unstable one, has been created in interna- 
tional relations. This is now evident. It is very strange for 
those of us who have lived through the revolution from its 
inception, who have experienced and observed our incredi- 
ble difficulties in breaching the imperialist fronts, to see 
how things have now developed. At that time probably none 



of us expected or could have expected that things would 
shape out like this. 

We imagined (and it is perhaps well worth remembering 
this now because it will help us in our practical conclu- 
sions on the main economic problems) that future develop- 
ment would take a more simple, a more direct form than the 
one it took. We told ourselves and we told the working class 
and all working people both of Russia and of other countries 
that there was no way out of the accursed, criminal imperial- 
ist slaughter except through revolution, and that by break- 
ing off the imperialist war by revolution we were opening 
up the only possible way out of this criminal slaughter for 
all peoples. It seemed to us then, as it was bound to, that this 
was the obvious, direct and easiest path to take. This direct 
path, which, in fact, alone had enabled us to break free of 
imperialist ties, of imperialist crimes and of the imperialist 
war continuing to threaten the rest of the world, proved to 
be one which other nations were unable to take — at any rate 
not as quickly as we had thought they would. When, never- 
theless, we now see what has taken place, when we see that 
there is only one Socialist Soviet Republic and that it is 
surrounded by a whole array of frenziedly hostile imperial- 
ist powers, we ask ourselves — how was it possible for this 
to happen? 

One may reply without any exaggeration that this hap- 
pened because our understanding of events was basically 
correct, our appraisal of the imperialist slaughter and the 
confusion in the relations between the imperialist powers was 
also basically correct. It is only due to this that such a 
strange situation, the unstable, inexplicable, and yet to a 
certain extent indisputable equilibrium that we witness, 
has arisen. The fact of the matter is that although com- 
pletely surrounded by countries economically and militarily 
much more powerful than ourselves, whose open hostility 
to us quite often borders on frenzy, we nevertheless see 
that they were unable to destroy Soviet Russia directly 
and instantly — something on which they had been spending 
so much of their resources and their strength for three years 
When we ask ourselves how this could have happened, how it 
could be that a state, undoubtedly one of the most backward 
and weakest, managed to repel the attacks of the openly 



hostile, most powerful countries in the world, when we try 
to examine this question, we see clearly that it was because 
we proved to be correct on the most fundamental issues. 
Our forecasts and calculations proved to be correct. It turned 
out that although we did not receive the swift and direct 
support of the working people of the world that we had count- 
ed on, and which we had regarded as the basis of the whole 
of our policy, we did receive support of another kind, which 
was not direct or swift — the sympathy of the workers and 
peasants, the farm workers, throughout the world, even in 
the countries most hostile to us, the sympathy that was 
great enough to be the final and most decisive source, the 
decisive reason for the complete failure of all the attacks 
directed against us. This sympathy consolidated the alli- 
ance of the working people of all countries which we had 
proclaimed and which had been implemented within the 
borders of our Republic, and which had its effect on all 
countries. No matter how precarious this support may be, as 
long as capitalism exists in other countries (this we must 
of course see clearly and frankly acknowledge), we may say 
that it is something we can rely on. Because of this sympa- 
thy and support, the intervention, which we endured in the 
course of three years, which caused us incredible destruc- 
tion and suffering, is, I will not say impossible — one has to 
be very cautious and circumspect here — but, at any rate, 
has been made far more difficult for our enemies to carry 
out. And this, in the final analysis, explains the situa- 
tion now obtaining and which at first glance appears so 
strange and incomprehensible. 

When we calmly weigh up the sympathy felt for Bolshe- 
vism and the socialist revolution, when we survey the inter- 
national situation from the point of view of the balance of 
forces, irrespective of whether these forces favour a just or an 
unjust cause, whether they favour the exploiting class or 
the working people — we shall ignore this aspect and attempt 
an appraisal of the alignment of these forces on an inter- 
national scale — then we shall see that they are grouped in a 
manner that basically confirms our predictions and calcula- 
tions: that capitalism is disintegrating and that since the 
war, which ended first with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and 
subsequently with the Treaty of Versailles — and I don't 



know which is worse — hatred and loathing for the war 
increase as time passes even in the countries which emerged 
as victors. And the farther we get from the war the clearer it 
becomes, not only to the working people, but to an extremely 
large extent also to the bourgeoisie of the victor countries, 
that capitalism is disintegrating, that the world economic 
crisis has created an intolerable situation from which there 
is no escape, despite all the victories. That is why, while 
being immeasurably weaker economically, politically and 
militarily than all the other powers, we are at the same time 
stronger, because we are aware of and correctly assess all 
that emerges and must emerge from this imperialist confu- 
sion, from this bloody tangle and from those contradictions 
(to take only the currency contradictions, I will not mention 
the others) in which they have become entangled and are 
becoming entangled still more deeply and from which they see 
no way out. 

Today we see how the representatives of the most moder- 
ate bourgeoisie, who are definitely and without doubt far 
removed from socialist ideas, to say nothing of "that awful 
Bolshevism", change their tune; this concerns even people 
like the famous writer Keynes, whose book has been trans- 
lated into all languages, who took part in the Versailles nego- 
tiations, and who devoted himself heart and soul to help- 
ing the governments — even he, subsequently, has had to 
change his tune, to give it up, although he continues to curse 
socialism. I repeat, he does not mention, nor does he wish 
even to think about Bolshevism — but he tells the capital- 
ist world: "What you are doing will lead you into a hopeless 
situation", and he even proposes something like the annul- 
ment of all debts. 

That is excellent, gentlemen! You should have followed 
our example long ago. 

Only a few days ago we read a short report in the newspa- 
pers to the effect that one of the most experienced, exceeding- 
ly skilful and astute leaders of a capitalist government, 
Lloyd George, is, it appears, beginning to propose a similar 
step; and that seemingly the U.S.A. wishes to reply by say- 
ing: "Sorry, but we want to be repaid in full." That being 
so, we say to ourselves that things are not going too well in 
these advanced and mighty states since they are discussing 



such a simple measure so many years after the war. This 
was one of the easiest things we did — it was nothing to some 
of the other difficulties we overcame. (Applause.) When we 
see the growing confusion on this question we say that we are 
not afraid of their propaganda; although we by no means 
forget either the dangers surrounding us or our economic 
and military weakness compared to any one of these states, 
who, jointly, quite openly and frequently express their 
hatred for us. Whenever we express somewhat different 
views as to whether the existence of landowners and capi- 
talists is justified they do not like it, and these views are 
declared to be criminal propaganda. I simply cannot under- 
stand this, for the same sort of propaganda is conducted 
legally in all states that do not share our economic views 
and opinions. Propaganda which calls Bolshevism mon- 
strous, criminal, usurpatory — this monster defies descrip- 
tion — this propaganda is conducted openly in all these coun- 
tries. Recently I had a meeting with Christensen, who was a 
candidate for the U.S. Presidency on behalf of the farmers' 
and workers' party there. Do not be misled by this name, 
comrades. It does not in the least resemble the workers' 
and peasants' party in Russia: It is a purely bourgeois party, 
openly and resolutely hostile to any kind of socialism, and is 
recognised as being perfectly respectable by all bourgeois 
parties. This Danish-born American, who received almost 
a million votes at the presidential elections (and this, after 
all, is something in the United States), told me how in Den- 
mark, when he tried to say among people "dressed like I am", 
and he was well dressed, like a bourgeois, that the Bolshe- 
viks were not criminals, "they nearly killed me". They told 
him that the Bolsheviks were monsters, usurpers, and that 
they were surprised that anyone could mention such people 
in decent society. This is the type of propaganda atmosphere 
surrounding us. 

We see, nevertheless, that a certain equilibrium has 
been created. This is the objective political situation, 
quite independent of our victories, which proves that we 
have fathomed the depth of the contradictions connected 
with the imperialist war, and that we are gauging them more 
correctly than ever before and more correctly than other 
powers, who, despite all their victories, despite all their 



strength, have not yet found a way out, nor see any. That 
is the substance of the international situation which 
accounts for what we now see. We have before us a highly 
unstable equilibrium but one that is, nevertheless, certain, 
obvious, indisputable. I do not know whether this is for long, 
and I do not think that anyone can know. That is why, for 
our part, we must display the utmost caution. And the first 
precept of our policy, the first lesson that emerges from our 
governmental activities for the past year, the lesson which 
must be learned by all workers and peasants, is to be on the 
alert, to remember that we are surrounded by people, classes, 
governments who openly express the utmost hatred for us. 
We must remember that we are always a hair's breadth away 
from invasion. We shall do all in our power to prevent this 
misfortune. It is doubtful that any nation has experienced 
such a burden of the imperialist war as we have. Then 
we bore the burden of the Civil War forced on us by the 
ruling classes, who fought for the Russia of the emigres, 
the Russia of the landowners, the Russia of the capitalists. 
We know, we know only too well, the incredible misfortunes 
that war brings to the workers and peasants. For that 
reason our attitude to this question must be most cautious 
and circumspect. We are ready to make the greatest conces- 
sions and sacrifices in order to preserve the peace for which 
we have paid such a high price. We are ready to make huge 
concessions and sacrifices, but not any kind and not for 
ever. Let those, fortunately not numerous, representatives 
of the war parties and aggressive cliques of Finland, Poland 
and Rumania who make great play of this — let them mark 
it well. (Applause.) 

Anyone who has any political sense or acumen will say 
that there has not been — nor can there be — a government in 
Russia other than the Soviet Government prepared to make 
such concessions and sacrifices in relation to nationalities 
within our state, and also to those which had joined the 
Russian Empire. There is not, and cannot be, another 
government which would recognise as clearly as we do 
and declare so distinctly to one and all that the attitude 
of old Russia (tsarist Russia, Russia of the war parties) to 
the nationalities populating Russia was criminal, that this 
attitude was impermissible, that it aroused the rightful and 



indignant protest and discontent of the oppressed national- 
ities. There is not, and cannot be, another government which 
would so openly admit this, which would conduct this anti- 
chauvinist propaganda, a propaganda that recognises the 
guilt of old Russia, tsarist Russia, Kerensky Russia — a 
government which would conduct propaganda against the 
forcible incorporation of other nationalities into Russia. 
This is not mere words — this is an obvious political fact, 
absolutely indisputable and plain for all to see. As long as 
no nationalities engage in intrigues against us which bind 
them to the imperialist oppression, as long as they do not 
help to crush us, we shall not be deterred by formalities. 
We shall not forget that we are revolutionaries. (Applause.) 
But there are facts incontrovertibly and indisputably 
showing that in Russia, that has defeated the Mensheviks 
and Socialist-Revolutionaries, the smallest, completely 
unarmed nationality, however weak it may be, may and 
must absolutely rest assured that we have nothing but peace- 
ful intentions towards it, that our propaganda about the 
criminality of the old policy of the old governments is not 
weakening, and that we are as firm as ever in our desire at 
all costs, and at the price of enormous sacrifices and conces- 
sions, to maintain peace with all nationalities that belonged 
to the former Russian Empire, but who did not wish 
to remain with us. We have proved this. And we shall prove 
this no matter how great the curses rained on us from all 
sides. It seems to us that we have given excellent proof of 
it, and we declare to the meeting of representatives of the 
workers and peasants of Russia, to the many millions of 
workers and peasants, that we shall do our utmost to preserve 
peace in the future, that we shall not shrink from great 
sacrifices and concessions in order to safeguard this peace. 

There are, however, limits beyond which one cannot go. 
We shall not permit peace treaties to be flouted. We shall 
not permit attempts to interfere with our peaceful work. On 
no account shall we permit this, and we shall rise to a man 
to defend our existence. (Applause.) 

Comrades, what I have just said is perfectly clear and 
comprehensible to you, and you could not expect anything 
else from anyone reporting to you on our policy. You know 
that such, and no other, is our policy. But, unfortunately, 



there are now two worlds: the old world of capitalism 
that is in a state of confusion but which will never surrender 
voluntarily, and the rising new world, which is still very 
weak, but which will grow, for it is invincible. This old 
world has its old diplomacy, which cannot believe that it 
is possible to speak frankly and forthrightly. This old 
diplomacy thinks there must be a trap of some sort here. 
(Applause, laughter.) When this economically and militarily 
all-powerful old world sent us — that was some time 
ago — Bullitt, a representative of the United States Govern- 
ment, who came to us with the proposal that we 
should conclude peace with Kolchak and Denikin on 
terms that were most unfavourable to us — we said that 
we held so dear the blood of the workers and peasants 
shed for so long in Russia that although the terms were 
extremely unfavourable we were prepared to accept them, 
because we were convinced that the forces of Kolchak and 
Denikin would disintegrate from within. We said this 
quite frankly, with the minimum of diplomatic subtlety, 
and so they concluded that we must be trying to dupe 
them. And Bullitt, who had held these friendly, round- 
table conversations with us, was met with reproach and 
compelled to resign as soon as he got home. I am surprised 
that he has not yet been thrown into gaol, in keeping with 
the imperialist custom, for secretly sympathising with the 
Bolsheviks. {Laughter, applause.) But the upshot was that 
we, who at that time had proposed peace to our disad- 
vantage, obtained peace on much more favourable terms. 
That was something of a lesson. I know that we can no 
more learn the old diplomacy than we can remould our- 
selves; but the lessons in diplomacy that we have given since 
then and that have been learned by the other powers must 
have had some effect, they must have remained in the 
memory of some people. (Laughter.) Hence, our straight- 
forward statement that our workers and peasants prized 
above all the blessings of peace, but that there were limits 
to the concessions they were prepared to make to preserve 
it, was taken to mean that they had not for a moment, 
not for a second, forgotten the hardships they had suffered 
in the imperialist war and the Civil War. This reminder, 
which I am sure this Congress, and the whole mass of work- 
ers and peasants, all Russia, will endorse and express — 



this reminder will surely have some effect and play a certain 
role, no matter how the powers take it, no matter what 
diplomatic ruse their old diplomatic habits make them 

This, comrades, is what I think must be said about our 
international situation. A certain unstable equilibrium has 
been reached. Materially — economically and militarily — 
we are extremely weak; but morally — by which, of course, 
I mean not abstract morals, but the alignment of the real 
forces of all classes in all countries — we are the strongest 
of all. This has been proved in practice; it has been proved 
not merely by words but by deeds; it has been proved 
once and, if history takes a certain turn, it will, perhaps, 
be proved many times again. That is why we say that 
having started on our work of peaceful development we 
shall exert every effort to continue it without interruption. 
At the same time, comrades, be vigilant, safeguard the 
defence potential of our country, strengthen our Red Army 
to the utmost, and remember that we have no right to 
permit an instant's slackening where our workers and 
peasants and their gains are concerned. (Applause.) 

Comrades, having thus briefly outlined the most essen- 
tial features of our international position, I shall now 
deal with the manner in which economic relations are 
beginning to shape out in our country and in Western 
Europe, in the capitalist countries. The greatest difficulty 
here is that without definite relations between us and the 
capitalist countries we cannot have stable economic 
relations. Events very clearly show that neither can the 
capitalist countries have them. But today we are not in an 
altruistic mood. We are thinking more of how to continue 
in existence when other powers are hostile to us. 

But is the existence of a socialist republic in a capitalist 
environment at all conceivable? It seemed inconceivable 
from the political and military aspects. That it is possible 
both politically and militarily has now been proved; it 
is a fact. But what about trade? What about econo- 
mic relations? Contacts, assistance, the exchange of 
services between backward, ruined agricultural Russia 
and the advanced, industrially-developed group of capi- 
talist countries — is all this possible? Did they not threaten 



to surround us with a barbed wire fence so as to prevent 
any economic relations with us whatever? "War did not 
scare them, so we shall reduce them by means of a 

Comrades, during the past four years we have heard so 
many threats, and such terrible ones, that none of them can 
frighten us any more. As for the blockade, experience has 
shown that it is an open question as to who suffers from 
it most, the blockaded or the blockaders. Experience has 
shown beyond doubt that during this first year, on which 
I am able to report as a period of a relatively elementary 
respite from direct brute force, we have not been recog- 
nised, we have been rejected, and relations with us have 
been declared non-existent (let them be recognised as non- 
existent by the bourgeois courts), but they nevertheless 
exist. I deem it my right to report to you that this is, without 
the slightest exaggeration, one of the main results achieved 
in 1921, the year under review. 

I do not know whether the report of the People's Commis- 
sariat of Foreign Affairs to the Ninth Congress of Soviets 
has been, or will be, distributed to you today. In my opinion, 
the defect in this report is that it is too bulky and is diffi- 
cult to read right through. But, perhaps, this is my own 
failing, and I have no doubt that the overwhelming major- 
ity of you, as well as all those who are interested in poli- 
tics, will read it, even if not immediately. Even if you do 
not read it all, but only glance through its pages, you will 
see that Russia has sprouted, if one may so express it, 
a number of fairly regular and permanent commercial 
relations, missions, treaties, etc. True, we are not yet 
recognised de jure. This is still important, because the 
danger of the unstable equilibrium being upset, the danger 
of new attempts at invasion has, as I have said, increased; 
the relations, however, are a fact. 

In 1921 — the first year of trade with foreign countries — 
we made considerable progress. This was partly due to 
the improvement in our transport system, perhaps the 
most important, or one of the most important sectors of 
our economy. It is due also to our imports and exports. 
Permit me to quote very brief figures. All our difficulties, 
our most incredible difficulties — the burden of these diffi- 



culties, the most crucial feature of them — lie in fuel and 
food, in the peasant economy, in the famine and calamities 
that have afflicted us. We know very well that all this is 
bound up with the transport problem. We must discuss 
this, and all comrades from the localities must know and 
repeat it over and over again to all their comrades there 
that we must strain every nerve to overcome the food and 
fuel crisis. It is from this that our transport system suffers, 
and transport is the material instrument of our relations 
with foreign countries. 

The organisational improvements in our transport system 
over the past year are beyond doubt. In 1921 we trans- 
ported by river much more than in 1920. The average run 
per vessel in 1921 was 1,000 pood-versts as compared with 
800 pood-versts in 1920. We have definitely made some 
progress in organisation. I must say that for the first time 
we are beginning to obtain assistance from abroad. We have 
ordered thousands of locomotives, and we have already 
received the first thirteen from Sweden and thirty-seven 
from Germany. It is a very small beginning, but a begin- 
ning, nevertheless. We have ordered hundreds of tank 
cars, about 500 of which arrived here in the course of 
1921. We are paying a high, an exorbitant price for 
these things, but still, it shows that we are receiving the 
assistance of the large-scale industry of the advanced coun- 
tries; it shows that the large-scale industry of the capitalist 
countries is helping us to restore our economy, although 
all these countries are governed by capitalists who hate 
us heart and soul. All of these capitalists are united by 
governments which continue to make statements in their 
press about how matters stand with the de jure recognition 
of Soviet Russia, and about whether or not the Bolshevik 
Government is a legitimate one. Lengthy research revealed 
that it is a legitimate government, but it cannot be recog- 
nised. I have no right to conceal the sad truth that we are 
not yet recognised, but I must tell you that commercial 
relations are nevertheless developing. 

All these capitalist countries are in a position to make 
us pay through the nose; we pay more for the goods than 
they are worth; but for all that, they are helping our econ- 
omy. How did that happen? Why are they acting against 



their own inclinations and in contradiction to what they 
are constantly asserting in their press? And this press is 
more than a match for ours in respect of circulation, and 
the force and venom with which it attacks us. They call 
us criminals, and all the same they help us. And so it turns 
out they are bound up with us economically. It turns out as 
I have already said, that our calculations, made on a grand 
scale, are more correct than theirs. This is not because they 
lack people capable of making correct calculations — they 
have far more than we have — but because it is impossible 
to calculate properly when one is heading for destruction. 
That is why I would like to supplement my remarks with 
a few figures to show how our foreign trade is developing. 
I shall quote only very brief figures that are easy to 
remember. In three years — 1918, 1919 and 1920 — our total 
imports amounted to a little over 17,000,000 poods; in 
1921 they amounted to 50,000,000 poods, that is to say, 
three times the total amount imported in the three preced- 
ing years. Our exports in the first three years totalled 
2,500,000 poods; in 1921 alone, they amounted to 11,500,000 
poods. These figures are infinitesimally, miserably, ridic- 
ulously small; any well-informed person will at once say 
that they are indicative of poverty. And that is what they 
do indicate. But for all that, it is a beginning. And we, 
who have experienced direct attempts to crush us, who 
for years have been hearing threats that everything will 
be done to prevent any relations with us as long as we 
remain what we are, nevertheless see that something has 
proved more potent than these threats. We see that their 
forecast of economic development was wrong and ours 
was right. We have made a start, and we must now exert 
all our efforts to continue this development without inter- 
ruption. We must make it our primary concern, giving 
it all our attention. 

I shall give you another little illustration of the progress 
we made in 1921. In the first quarter of 1921 imports amount- 
ed to about 3,000,000 poods, in the second quarter to 
8,000,000 poods, in the third quarter to 24,000,000 poods. 
So we are making progress. These figures are infinitesi- 
mally small, but they nevertheless show a gradual increase. 
We see how they grew in 1921, which was a year of unpre- 



cedented difficulties. You know what that calamity, the 
famine, cost us, what incredible difficulties it is still caus- 
ing on the farms, in industry and in our life generally. 
But although our country has been devastated by war, 
has suffered tremendous hardship as a result of all the 
wars and of the rule of tsars and capitalists, we are now 
on the road that offers us a prospect of improvement, in 
spite of the unceasing hostility towards us. That is the 
main factor. That is why, when we read recently about 
the Washington Conference, 41 when we heard the news that 
the countries hostile to us would be obliged to convene a 
second conference next summer and to invite Germany and 
Russia to discuss the terms of a genuine peace, we said 
that our terms are clear and definite; we have formulated 
them, we have published them. How much hostility shall 
we encounter? We have no illusions about that; but we 
know that the economic position of those who blockaded 
us has proved to be vulnerable. There is a force more power- 
ful than the wishes, the will and the decisions of any of 
the governments or classes that are hostile to us. That 
force is world general economic relations, which compel 
them to make contact with us. The farther they proceed 
in this direction the more extensive and rapid will be 
the development of what in today's report for 1921. I 
have been able to indicate to you only by some scanty 

Now for our domestic economic situation; here, too, 
the important question that has priority is that of our 
economic policy. Our main task for 1921, the year under 
review, was to go over to the New Economic Policy, to 
take the first steps along this path, to learn how to make 
them, to adjust our legislation and administrative appa- 
ratus to it. The press has given you a lot of facts and 
information showing how this work has developed. You 
will not, of course, expect me to quote here additional 
facts or to give figures. It is only necessary to determine 
what the main thing was that united us most of all, that 
is more vital from the point of view of the most important 
and radical question of our entire revolution and of all 
future socialist revolutions (if viewed generally on a world 



The most basic, most vital question is that of the 
attitude of the working class to the peasants; this involves 
the alliance of the working class and the peasants; the 
ability of the advanced workers, who have passed through 
a lengthy, difficult but rewarding school of experience in 
a large factory, to do things in such a way that they attract 
to their side the mass of peasants, who were ground down 
by capitalism, by the landowners and by their old poverty- 
stricken, petty farms, to prove to them that only in alliance 
with the workers, no matter what the difficulties to be 
encountered on this path, and they are many, and we cannot 
close our eyes to this — only through this alliance can the 
peasants abolish the age-old oppression by the landown- 
ers and capitalists. Only by consolidating the alliance of 
the workers and peasants can mankind be saved from events 
such as the recent imperialist slaughter, from the barbar- 
ous contradictions to be seen in the capitalist world today, 
where a small number, a miserable handful of the richest 
powers are choking with wealth, while the huge popula- 
tion of the globe suffers privations, being unable to benefit 
from the culture and rich resources that lie before them 
but cannot be made use of because of insufficient commerce. 

Unemployment is the chief calamity in the advanced 
countries. There is no way out of this situation other than 
through the firm alliance of the peasants with a working 
class that has passed through the difficult, but one relia- 
ble school of importance, the school of factory life, factory 
exploitation, factory solidarity — there is no other way out. 
We have tested this alliance in the political and military 
fields during our Republic's most difficult years. In 1921, 
for the first time, we tested this alliance in the economic 
field. So far we have handled things very, very badly in 
this field, as we must frankly admit. We must recognise 
this shortcoming and not gloss over it; we must do every- 
thing possible to eliminate it and understand that the 
foundation of our New Economic Policy lies in this alliance. 
There are only two ways in which proper relations between 
the working class and the peasants can be established. 
If large-scale industry is flourishing, if it can immediately 
supply the small peasants with a sufficient amount of 
goods, or more than previously, and in this way establish 



proper relations between manufactured goods and the 
supply of surplus agricultural goods coming from the peas- 
ants, then the peasants will be fully satisfied, then the 
mass of peasants, the non-Party peasants, will acknowl- 
edge, by virtue of experience, that this new system is better 
than the capitalist system. We speak of a flourishing large- 
scale industry, which is able to supply all the goods the 
peasants are in urgent need of, and this possibility exists; 
if we consider the problem on a world scale, we see that 
a flourishing large-scale industry capable of supplying the 
world with all kinds of goods exists, only its owners do 
not know how to use it for anything but the manufacture 
of guns, shells and other armaments, employed with such 
success from 1914 to 1918. Then industry was geared to 
war and supplied mankind with its products so abundantly 
that no fewer than 10 million people were killed and no 
fewer than 20 million maimed. This is something we have 
all seen, and, besides, war in the twentieth century is not 
like previous wars. 

After this war, even among the victor countries, among 
those most hostile and alien to any kind of socialism, who 
ruthlessly oppose the slightest socialist idea, a large num- 
ber of people have been heard to say quite definitely that 
even if there were no wicked Bolsheviks in the world, it 
is hardly likely that another war of this kind could be 
permitted. This is said by the representatives of the most 
wealthy countries. This is what this rich, advanced, large- 
scale industry was used for. It served to maim people, 
and it had no time to supply the peasants with its goods. 
All the same we have a right to say that such an industry 
exists on a world scale. There are countries whose large- 
scale industry is so advanced that it could instantly satisfy 
the needs of hundreds of millions of backward peasants. 
We make this the basis of our calculations. From your 
daily observations you know better than anyone else what 
has been left of our large-scale industry, which was weak 
anyway. In the Donets Basin, the main centre of our large- 
scale industry, for instance, the Civil War caused so much 
destruction, and so many imperialist governments estab- 
lished their rule there (how many of them did the Ukraine 
see!), that it was inevitable that next to nothing should 



remain of our large-scale industry. When, added to this, 
there is the misfortune of the 1921 crop failure, it becomes 
clear that the attempt to supply the peasants with goods 
from large-scale industry, which had been placed under 
state control, was unsuccessful. Once this attempt has 
failed, the only economic relation possible between the 
peasants and the workers, that is, between agriculture and 
industry, is exchange, trade. That is the crux of the matter. 
The substitution of the tax in kind for requisitioning — 
that, very simply, is the substance of our economic policy. 
When there is no flourishing large-scale industry which 
can be organised in such a way as to supply the peasants 
with goods immediately, then the gradual development of 
a powerful alliance of the workers and peasants is possible 
only through trade and the gradual advance of agriculture 
and industry above their present level, under the guidance 
and control of the workers' state. Sheer necessity has driven 
us to this path. And this is the sole basis and substance of 
our New Economic Policy. 

At a time when the main attention and the main forces 
were diverted to political and military problems, we simply 
had to press forward with great speed along with the van- 
guard, knowing that it would have support. The alliance 
of the peasants and workers in the fight for great political 
changes, for our great achievements of the past three years, 
which put us at war with the dominant world powers, 
was made possible by a simple burst of political and mili- 
tary enthusiasm because every peasant realised, felt and 
sensed that he was confronted by his age-old enemy, the 
landowner, who in one way or another was being aided by 
representatives of other parties. That is why this alliance 
was so solid and invincible. 

In the economic field the basis of this alliance has to be 
different. A change in the substance and form of the alliance 
is essential. If anyone from the Communist Party, from 
the trade unions, or merely anyone sympathetic to Soviet 
power has overlooked the need to change the form and 
substance of this alliance, then so much the worse for him. 
Such oversights in a revolution are impermissible. The 
change in the form of the alliance has become necessary 
because the political and military alliance could not 



continue intact in the realm of economics, when we have as 
yet no large-scale industry, when what we had has been 
ruined by a war such as no other country has ever expe- 
rienced. Even in countries infinitely more wealthy than 
ours, in countries that had gained, not lost from the war, 
the level of industry has not yet risen. A change in the form 
and substance of the alliance of the workers and peasants 
has become essential. We went much further forward in the 
political and military period than the purely economic 
aspect of the alliance of the workers and peasants permitted 
us to do. We had to do this in order to defeat the enemy, 
and we had the right to do this. We were successful because 
we defeated our enemies in the field that existed at that 
time, in the political and military field, but we suffered 
a series of defeats in the economic field. There is no need 
to be afraid to admit this; on the contrary, we shall only 
learn how to win when we do not fear to acknowledge our 
defeats and shortcomings, when we look truth, even the 
saddest truth, straight in the face. We have a right to be 
proud of our achievements in the first field, that is, in 
the political and military field. They have gone down in 
history as an epoch-making victory, whose overall influence 
is yet to be felt. But economically, in the year under review, 
we only started the New Economic Policy and we are 
taking a step forward in this regard. At the same time, 
we are only just beginning to learn and are making very 
many more mistakes, looking back, being carried away by 
our past experience — splendid, lofty, magnificent, of world- 
wide significance, but which could not solve the economic 
problems now imposed on us in a country where large- 
scale industry has been devastated; in conditions which 
demand that we learn, in the first place, to establish the 
economic link now necessary and inevitable. That link is 
trade. This is a very unpleasant discovery for Communists. 
It is quite likely that this discovery is extremely unpleas- 
ant, in fact it is certain that it is unpleasant, but if we 
are swayed by ideas of pleasantness or unpleasantness we 
shall fall to the level of those would-be socialists of whom 
we saw plenty at the time of the Kerensky Provisional 
Government. It is hardly likely that "socialists" of this 
type still have any authority in our Republic. And our 



strength has always been our ability to take the actual 
balance of forces into consideration and not to be afraid 
of it no matter how unpleasant it might be for us. 

Since large-scale industry exists on a world scale, there 
can be no doubt that a direct transition to socialism is 
possible— and nobody will deny this fact, just as nobody 
will deny that this large-scale industry either comes to 
a standstill and creates unemployment in the most flourish- 
ing and wealthy victor countries, or only manufactures 
shells for the extermination of people. And if, owing to 
the backwardness with which we came to the revolution, 
we have not reached the industrial development we need, 
are we going to give up, are we going to despair? No. We 
shall get on with the hard work because the path that we 
have taken is the right one. There is no doubt that the 
path of the alliance of the mass of the people is the sole 
path which will ensure that the workers and peasants work 
for themselves and not for the exploiters. In order to bring 
this about in our conditions we must have the only possible 
economic link, the link through the economy. 

That is why we have retreated, that is why we have 
had to retreat to state capitalism, retreat to concessions, 
retreat to trade. Without this, proper relations with the 
peasants cannot be restored in the conditions of devasta- 
tion, in which we now find ourselves. Without this, we are 
threatened with the danger of the revolution's vanguard 
getting swiftly so far ahead that it would lose touch with 
the peasants. There would be no contact-between the van- 
guard and the peasants and that would mean the collapse 
of the revolution. Our approach to this must be particularly 
careful, first and foremost, because what we call our New 
Economic Policy follows from it. That is why we have 
unanimously declared that we shall carry out this policy 
in earnest and for a long time, but, of course, as has already 
been correctly noted, not for ever; it has been made neces- 
sary by our poverty and devastation and by the tremendous 
weakening of our large-scale industry. 

I shall permit myself to quote a few figures in order 
to prove that despite the difficulties and the many mistakes 
we have made (and we have made a great number) we are 
nevertheless moving ahead. Comrades, I have not got the 



overall figures on the development of internal trade; I 
only wish to deal with information on the turnover of the 
Central Council of Co-operative Societies for three months. 
For September the turnover of these co-operatives amounted 
to one million gold rubles, for October three million and 
for November six million. Again, if taken as absolute, 
the figures are miserable, small; this must be frankly recog- 
nised, because it will be more harmful to harbour any 
illusions on this score. They are paltry figures, but in 
these conditions of devastation they undoubtedly show 
that there is an advance, and that we can fasten on to this 
economic basis. No matter how numerous the mistakes we 
make — the trade unions, the Communist Party and the 
administrative bodies — we are becoming convinced that 
we can rid ourselves of them, and are gradually doing so, 
and that we are taking the path that is sure to lead to the 
restoration of relations between agriculture and industry. 
The growth of the productive forces can and must be 
achieved even on the level of petty-peasant economy and, 
for the time being, on the basis of small-scale industry, 
since it is so difficult to rehabilitate large-scale industry. 
We must make headway, and we are beginning to, but we 
need to remember that in this field a different rate and 
different conditions of work obtain, that here victory will 
be more difficult. Here we cannot achieve our aims as 
quickly as we were able to in the political and military 
fields. Here we cannot proceed by leaps and bounds, and 
the periods involved are different — they are reckoned in 
decades. These are the periods in which we shall have to 
achieve successes in the economic war, in conditions of 
hostility instead of assistance from our neighbours. 

This path of ours is the right one, for it is the path which, 
sooner or later, all other countries must inevitably take. 
We have begun to follow this right path; we must assess even 
the smallest step, take into account our slightest mistakes, 
and then we shall reach our goal by following this path. 

I ought now, comrades, to say a few words about our 
main preoccupation, farming, but I believe that you are 
to hear a far more detailed and fuller report on this question 
than I could make, and also on the famine, to be made by 
Comrade Kalinin. 



You are fully aware, comrades, of the incredible hard- 
ships of the 1921 famine. It was inevitable that the misfor- 
tunes of old Russia should have been carried over to our 
times, because the only way to avoid them is to restore 
the economy, but not on the old, paltry, petty basis. It 
must be rehabilitated on a new basis, the basis of large- 
scale industry and electrification. Only in that way shall 
we be rid of our poverty and of interminable famines. It 
can be seen at once that the periods by which we were able 
to measure our political and military victories do not 
apply here. Surrounded by hostile countries, we have, 
nevertheless, pierced the blockade: no matter how meagre 
the help, we did get something. In all, it amounts to 
2,500,000 poods. That is all the help that we have received 
from abroad, that the foreign countries graciously present- 
ed to starving Russia. We were able to collect about 
600,000 gold rubles in donations. It is a far too pitiful 
sum, and shows the mercenary attitude of the European 
bourgeoisie toward our famine. No doubt you have all 
read how, at the news of the famine, influential statesmen 
grandiloquently and solemnly declared that to take 
advantage of the famine in order to raise the question of 
old debts would be a devilish thing to do. I am not so sure 
that the devil is worse than modern imperialism. What 
I do know is that in actual fact, despite the famine, they 
did try to recover their old debts on particularly harsh 
conditions. We do not refuse to pay, and solemnly declare 
that we are prepared to discuss things in a business-like 
fashion. But you all understand, and there can be no doubt 
about this, that we shall never under any circumstances 
allow ourselves to be tied hand and foot in this matter 
without considering all its aspects, without taking into 
account reciprocal claims, without a business-like dis- 

I have to inform you that during recent days we have 
had considerable success in the struggle against the famine. 
You have no doubt read in the newspapers that the U.S.A. 
has allocated 20 million dollars for the relief of the starving 
in Russia, probably on the same conditions as A.R.A. — 
the American Relief Administration. Krasin sent us a 
telegram a few days ago saying that the U.S. Government 



is formally proposing to guarantee the dispatch to us over 
a period of three months of foodstuffs and seeds worth 
20 million dollars, provided we, on our part, can agree to 
the expenditure of 10 million dollars (20 million gold 
rubles) for the same purpose. We immediately agreed to 
this and have telegraphed accordingly. And I think we 
may say that, during the first three months, we shall be 
able to supply the starving with seed and food worth 
30 million dollars, that is, 60 million gold rubles. This is, 
of course, very little; it by no means covers the terrible 
losses we have suffered. You all understand this perfectly 
well. But at any rate this is aid which will undoubtedly 
help to relieve our desperate need and desperate famine. 
And since in autumn we were able to achieve certain 
successes in providing the starving areas with seed and 
in extending the sown areas in general, we now have hopes 
for far greater success in the spring. 

In the autumn, approximately 75 per cent of the usual 
area was sown to winter crops in the famine-stricken 
gubernias, 102 per cent in the gubernias partially hit by the 
crop failure, 123 per cent in the producing gubernias and 
126 per cent in the consuming gubernias. This, at any rate, 
proves that no matter how fantastically difficult our con- 
ditions, we were still able to give the peasants some help 
in enlarging the area sown to crops and in fighting the 
famine. Under present conditions we have every right to 
expect, without any exaggeration or fear of error, that we 
shall be able to help the peasants substantially with seed for 
the spring-crop area. This aid, I repeat, is by no means 
adequate. Under no circumstances shall we have enough 
for all our needs. This must be stated quite frankly. All 
the more reason, therefore, to do everything possible to 
extend this aid. 

In this connection I must give you the final figures on 
our work to solve the food problem. Generally speaking, 
the tax in kind made things much easier for the peasants 
as a whole. This needs no proof. It is not simply a question 
of how much grain has been taken from the peasants, but 
that the peasant feels better provided for under the tax 
in kind, and has a greater interest in improving his farm. 
With increased productive forces the tax in kind has opened 



up wider horizons for an industrious peasant. On the whole, 
the results of the collection of the tax in kind for the year 
under review are such that we have to say that we must 
make every effort to avert failure. 

Here, in brief, are the general results that I can give 
you based on the latest returns supplied by the People's 
Commissariat of Food. We need at least 230 million poods. 
Of these, 12 million are needed for the famine-stricken, 
37 million for seed, and 15 million for the reserve fund. 
We can obtain 109 million through the tax in kind, 15 
million from the milling tax, 12,500,000 from the repayment 
of the seed loan, 13,500,000 from trade, 27 million from the 
Ukraine and 38 million poods from abroad — 38 million, 
reckoning the 30 million from the source I have already 
mentioned to you, and in addition the eight million poods 
we plan to buy. This makes a total of 215 million poods. 
So we still have a deficit, with not a single pood in reserve, 
nor is it certain that we shall be able to buy more 
abroad. Our food plan has been calculated to the narrowest 
margin so that the least possible burden falls on the peas- 
ants who have been victims of the famine. In the central 
Soviet organisations we have for a long time been making 
every effort to have the plan for food deliveries fulfilled to 
the maximum. In 1920 we estimated that the state main- 
tained 38 million people; now we have reduced this figure to 
eight million. Such is the reduction we have made in this 
respect. This can lead to only one conclusion: there must 
be 100 per cent collection of the tax in kind, i.e., it must 
at all costs be collected in full. For the peasants that have 
suffered so much, this represents a great burden and we do 
not forget this. I am perfectly well aware that the comrades 
in the localities, who have themselves experienced all the 
difficulties of solving the food campaign problem, know 
better than I do what it means to collect the tax in full 
at this moment. But, as a result of our work during 1921, 
I must say on behalf of the government that this task; 
comrades, has to be carried out; this difficulty will have 
to be faced, this problem will have to be overcome. Other- 
wise we cannot meet the most basic, most elementary 
requirements of our transport and industry, we cannot ensure 
the very minimum, absolutely essential budget, without 



which we cannot exist in our present condition of hostile 
encirclement and the highly unstable international balance 
of forces. 

Without the most tremendous efforts, there is and can 
be no way out of the situation in which we find ourselves 
after being tortured by the imperialist and civil wars and 
after being persecuted by the ruling classes of all countries. 
Therefore, not shunning the bitter truth, we must state 
quite definitely, and bring this home to the workers in the 
localities on behalf of the Congress: "Comrades, the entire 
existence of the Soviet Republic and our very modest plan 
for rehabilitating transport and industry are based on the 
assumption that we shall fulfil our general food procure- 
ment programme. It is vitally necessary, therefore, to 
collect the tax in full." 

Speaking of the plan I shall now deal with the present 
position of the state plan. I shall begin with fuel, which 
is the food of industry and the basis of all our industrial 
work. Probably you have already received today, or will 
do so in a few days, a report on the work of our Gosplan, 
the State Planning Commission. You will receive a report 
on the Congress of Electrical Engineers, which made a 
valuable and important contribution and an examination by 
Russia's best technical and scientific personnel of the plan 
providing the only scientific short-cut to the rehabilitation 
of our large-scale industry, a plan that will take at least 
ten to fifteen years to fulfil. I have already said, and I shall 
not tire of repeating, that the periods we have to reckon 
with in our practical work today are different from those 
that we saw in the political and military sphere. Very many 
leading workers of the Communist Party and trade unions 
have understood this, but it is vital that everyone should 
do so. Incidentally, in Comrade Krzhizhanovsky's pamph- 
let — the report on the work of the State Planning Com- 
mission — which will be distributed to you tomorrow, you 
will see how the engineers and farming experts together 
regard the question of the state plan in general. You will 
see that their approach is not our usual one of viewing 
things from a general political or economic point of view, 
but of regarding matters in the light of their joint experi- 
ence as engineers and farming experts and, incidentally, 



showing the limit to our retreat. In the pamphlet you will 
find an answer to this question from the point of view of 
the engineers and farming experts; its contents are all the 
more valuable because you will find there how our general 
state planning organisation tackles the question of trans- 
port and industry as a result of its work during the year 
under review. Naturally, I cannot outline the contents 
of this report here. 

I should like to say a few words on the state of the fuel 
plan, as in this sphere we suffered the gravest setback at 
the beginning of 1921, the year under review. It was pre- 
cisely here, basing ourselves on the improved situation 
at the end of 1920, that we made the serious miscalculation 
which led to the colossal crisis in transport in the spring 
of 1921, a crisis caused not only by a shortage of material 
resources, but by a miscalculation of the rate of develop- 
ment. The mistake of transferring the experience we had 
gained during the political and war periods to economic 
problems was already having its effect; it was an impor- 
tant, a fundamental mistake which, comrades, we still 
repeat at every step. Many mistakes are being made right 
now, and it must be said that if we do not realise this and 
rectify them at all costs, there can be no stable economic 
improvement. After the lesson we have had we have worked 
out the fuel plan for the second half of 1921 with far greater 
care, regarding as impermissible the slightest exaggera- 
tion, and doing all we can to prevent it. The figures given 
me by Comrade Smilga, who is in charge of all our fuel 
collection institutions, for the end of December, although 
still incomplete, show that there is a deficit, which is now 
insignificant and indicates an improvement in the internal 
structure of our fuel budget, or its mineralisation, as the 
technical experts put it, that is, considerable success in 
supplying Russia with mineral fuel; after all, a firm foun- 
dation for large-scale industry capable of serving as the 
basis for socialist society can only be built on mineral fuel. 

This is how our fuel plan was calculated at the beginning 
of the second half of 1921. We hoped to obtain 297 million 
poods of fuel in firewood, i.e., 2,700,000 cubic sazhens 
converted into 7,000-calory conventional fuel in the way 
we usually do and in the way it is done on p. 40 of Krzhi- 



zhanovsky's pamphlet, which will be distributed to you. 
Our figures show that to date we have received nearly 234 
million poods. This is an enormous deficiency to which 
I must draw your attention. During the year under review 
we have paid very careful attention to the work of our fuel 
institutions in the matter of firewood. This is the work, 
however, that is mainly connected with the state of the 
peasant farms. It is the peasant and his horse that have 
to bear the burden. The fuel and fodder shortage, etc., 
greatly affect their work. Hence the shortage. That is why 
now, when we stand on the threshold of the winter fuel 
campaign, I must say once again — comrades, you must take 
to the localities the slogan that the greatest concentration 
of effort is needed in this work. Our fuel budget has been 
based on the absolute minimum required to raise the level 
of industrial production, but it is vitally necessary that 
this absolute minimum be achieved, no matter how dif- 
ficult the conditions. 

Further. We estimated that we would receive 143 mil- 
lion poods of coal; we received 184 million poods. That 
is progress, progress in increasing the amount of mineral fuel, 
progress made by the Donets coalfield and other enterprises, 
where many comrades have worked selflessly and achieved 
practical results in improving large-scale industry. I shall 
give you a couple of figures concerning the Donets Basin, 
because it is the basis, the main centre of all our industry. 
Oil — we reckoned on receiving 80 million poods, which 
if converted into conventional fuel would be 120 million 
poods. Peat — we calculated at 40 million (19 million 
poods of conventional fuel) and we received 50 million. So 
we had reckoned on obtaining a total of 579 million poods, 
but apparently we shall not succeed in getting more than 
562 million poods. In general, there is a fuel shortage. 
True, it is not very great, possibly 3-4 per cent short of 
requirements, but nevertheless it is a shortage. In any case, 
it has to be admitted that all this constitutes a direct threat 
to large-scale industry, because some part of the minimum 
requirements will not be met. I think I have proved to 
you by this example, firstly, that our planning bodies 
have not wasted their time, that the moment is approaching 
when we shall be fulfilling our plans, and, at the same 



time, that we are beginning to make just a little progress, 
and that the hardships and difficulties of our economic 
situation are still extremely great. Therefore, the main 
slogan, the main battle-cry, the main appeal with which 
this Congress must proceed in its work and with which it 
must conclude its work, which the delegates must carry to 
the localities is this: an all-out effort is still needed, no 
matter how difficult it may be, both in the industrial and 
in the agricultural field. An all-out effort is the only hope 
for the Republic, the only way in which the rule of the 
workers and peasants can be maintained, preserved and 
stabilised. That we have achieved notable successes has 
been shown particularly in the Donets Basin, where comrades 
such as Pyatakov in large-scale industry and Rukhimovich 
in small-scale industry have worked with great devotion and 
great success, with the result that for the first time the 
small-scale industry is in a position to produce something. 
In large-scale industry, output per coal-hewer reached the 
pre-war level, which had not been the case earlier. The total 
output of the Donets Basin for 1920 was 272 million poods, 
and in 1921 it is estimated at 350 million poods. This is 
a very, very small figure compared to the maximum pre-war 
figure — 1,700 million. But still it is something. It proves 
that there is an important advance. It is, after all, a step 
forward in the rehabilitation of large-scale industry, and 
we cannot afford to grudge any sacrifice to this end. 

Now a few words about the iron and steel industry. Here 
our situation is particularly difficult. We are producing 
possibly something like six per cent of the pre-war figure. 
That is the extent of the ruin and poverty to which the 
imperialist and civil wars have reduced Russia. But we 
are, of course, making headway. We are building centres 
like Yugostal, 42 where Comrade Mezhlauk is working with 
the utmost devotion. Difficult as our position is, we never- 
theless can see tremendous successes in this sphere. In 
the first half of 1921, 70,000 poods of iron were smelted 
monthly; in October, 130,000; in November, 270,000 or 
almost four times as much. We can see that there are no 
grounds for panic. We by no means close our eyes to the 
fact that the figures I have given represent a miserable, 
paltry level, but all the same they prove that no matter 



how exceptionally grave things were in 1921, no matter what 
extraordinary burdens have fallen to the lot of the working 
class and peasants, we are, nonetheless, progressing, we are 
on the right path, and by straining every nerve we can hope 
that there will be even greater improvement. 

I should also like to give some figures on our progress 
in electrification. Unfortunately, so far, we have not been 
very successful. I counted on being able to congratulate 
the Ninth Congress on the opening of the second big electric 
power station built by the Soviet government; the first 
was Shatura, and the second the Kashira Station, which we 
had hoped to open in December. 43 It would have generated, 
and can generate, 6,000 kw at first, which, with the 18,000 kw 
we have in Moscow, would have been substantial help. But 
a number of obstacles prevented us from opening the station 
in December 1921; it will be opened very soon, in a few 
weeks at the latest. You have probably seen the report 
published in Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn a few days ago and 
signed by engineer Levi, one of the leading participants at 
the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Electrical Engineers and, 
in general, one of our most important workers. I shall give 
you a few figures from this report. Taking 1918 and 1919 
together, 51 stations with a 3,500 kw capacity were com- 
missioned. If we take 1920 and 1921 together, 221 stations 
with a 12,000 kw capacity were commissioned. Of course, 
when these figures are compared with Western Europe they 
seem extremely small and paltry. But they show that prog- 
ress can be made even in face of difficulties such as no 
country has ever experienced. The building of small power 
stations throughout the countryside played an important 
role. It must be frankly admitted that they were very often 
too far apart, although there was some good in that, too. 
Thanks to these small stations new centres of modern large- 
scale industry were set up in the countryside. Although they 
may be of trilling significance, they show the peasants that 
Russia will not remain a country of manual labour, or of the 
primitive wooden plough, but will go forward to different 
times. And the peasant masses-are gradually coming to 
understand that we must and can put Russia on a different 
footing. The periods involved, as I have already pointed 
out, are measured in decades, but the work has already 



commenced, and the realisation of this is spreading among 
the mass of the peasants, partly because the small stations 
grow faster than the larger ones. But if in 1921 there was 
a delay in the opening of one large electric power station, 
at the beginning of 1922 there will be two stations — at 
Kashira near Moscow, and at Utkina Zavod near Petrograd. 44 
In this respect, at any rate, we have taken the path that 
ensures progress, provided we approach the fulfilment of 
our tasks with unrelaxed zeal. 

A few words about yet another achievement — our success 
in peat production. Our peat output reached 93 million 
poods in 1920 and 139 million poods in 1921; this is, pos- 
sibly, the only sphere in which we have far surpassed the 
pre-war level. Our peat resources are inexhaustible, greater 
than those of any other country. But there have always 
been gigantic difficulties, and to some extent they still 
remain, in the sense that this work, which is arduous in 
general, was especially arduous in Russia. The hydraulic 
method of peat-cutting, recommended by Comrades Rad- 
chenko, Menshikov and Morozov of the Central Peat Board, 
has made the work easier. There have been great achieve- 
ments in this field. In 1921, we had in operation only two peat 
pumps, machines for the hydraulic extraction of peat, which 
relieve the workers of the back-breaking toil still involved 
in peat-cutting. Twenty of these machines have been 
ordered from Germany and will be received in 1922. Co- 
operation with an advanced European country has begun. We 
cannot ignore the possibilities for the development of peat- 
cutting which now open out before us. There are more bogs 
and peat deposits in Russia than anywhere else, and it is 
now possible to transform the back-breaking labour, which 
only a few workers were prepared to undertake, into more 
normal work. Practical co-operation with a modern, 
advanced state — Germany — has been achieved because her 
factories are already working on machines designed to 
lighten this labour, machines which will most certainly 
start to operate in 1922. We must take this fact into 
account. We can do a great deal in this sphere if we all under- 
stand and all spread the idea that, given intensified efforts and 
mechanised labour, we in Russia have a better opportunity 
to emerge from the economic crisis than any other country. 



I want to emphasise another aspect of our economic 
policy. In assessing our New Economic Policy it is not 
enough to pay attention to what may be of particular 
importance. Of course, the essence of this policy is the 
alliance of the proletariat and the peasantry, the union of 
the vanguard of the proletariat with the broad mass of 
the peasants. Thanks to the New Economic Policy, the 
development of the productive forces — at all costs, and 
without delay — has begun. There is another aspect of the 
New Economic Policy, that of the possibility of learning. 
The New Economic Policy is a form that will enable us to 
begin learning how to manage our economy in real earnest; 
up to now we have been doing this very badly. Of course, 
it is difficult for a Communist leader, for a trade union 
leader of the working people to realise that at the moment 
trade is the touchstone of our economic life, the only pos- 
sible basis for the alliance of the vanguard of the prole- 
tariat with the peasants, the only possible link which will 
permit us to begin economic development all along the 
line. If we take any merchant trading under state and legal 
control (our court is a proletarian one, and it can watch 
each private businessman in order to see that the laws are 
not interpreted for them as in bourgeois states; recently 
there was an example of this in Moscow, 45 and you all know 
that we shall multiply these examples, severely punishing 
any attempts by these private businessmen to contravene 
our laws), we shall see that all the same, this merchant, 
this private businessman, eager for his 100 per cent profit, 
will do business — for example, he will acquire raw material 
for industry in a way that most Communists or trade union 
workers would never be able to do. That is the significance 
of the New Economic Policy. Here is something you can 
learn. It is a very serious lesson, and we must all learn it. 
It is an extremely harsh one, not like listening to lectures 
or passing examinations. We are up against a difficult 
problem, a stern economic struggle, in circumstances of 
poverty, in circumstances of unparalleled difficulty, a bread 
shortage, famine and cold; this is the real school and we 
must graduate from it. Every attempt to brush this task 
aside, every attempt to turn a blind eye to it, to disregard 
it, would be the most criminal and most dangerous 



arrogance on the part of Communists and trade unionists. All 
of us, comrades, who are governing Soviet Russia, are apt to 
commit this sin, and we must admit it quite frankly in 
order to rid ourselves of this shortcoming. 

We are undertaking economic development on the basis 
of yesterday's experience, and it is here that we make our 
main mistake. I shall quote a French proverb which says 
that people's faults are usually connected with their merits. 
A man's faults are, as it were, a continuation of his merits. 
But if the merits persist longer than they are needed, are 
displayed when and where they are no longer needed, they 
become faults. Very likely, almost all of you have observed 
this in private and public life, and we now note it in the 
development of our revolution, of our Party and of our 
trade unions, which are the mainstay of our Party; in the 
entire government machinery ruling Soviet Russia, we 
see this fault, which, as it were, is the continuation of 
our merits. Our great merit was that in the political and 
military fields we took a step of historic importance, that 
has gone down in world history as a change of epochs. What 
we have done cannot be taken from us, no matter what 
sufferings lie ahead. It was due to the proletarian revolution 
and to the fact that the Soviet system replaced the old 
system that we emerged from the imperialist war and got 
out of our misfortunes. This cannot be taken away from 
us — this is the undoubted, unalterable, inalienable merit, 
which no efforts or onslaughts of our enemies can take 
away from us, but which if it persists where it is no longer 
needed becomes a most dangerous fault. 

A burst of enthusiasm on the part of the workers and 
peasants at their present level of class-consciousness was 
sufficient to solve political and military problems. They 
all understood that the imperialist war was crushing them — 
to understand this there was no need of a higher level of 
consciousness, of a new level of organisation. The enthusi- 
asm, drive and heroism, which still remain and which 
will remain for ever as a monument to what a revolution can 
do and has done, helped to solve these problems. That is 
how we achieved our political and military successes, and 
this merit now becomes our most dangerous fault. We look 
back and we think that economic problems can be solved in 



the same manner. That, however, is the mistake; when the 
situation has changed and different problems have to be 
solved, we cannot look back and attempt to solve them by 
yesterday's methods. Don't try — you won't succeed! We 
must realise that this is a mistaken attitude. There are 
Communist Party and trade union workers who very often 
turn their backs on and wave aside the humble, many years' 
difficult work in economic management, which demands 
forbearance, bitter experiences, long effort, punctuality and 
perseverance, whether as government workers, or as yester- 
day's fighters; they excuse themselves with recollections 
of the great things they did yesterday. These people remind 
me of the fable of the geese 46 who boasted that they had 
"saved Rome", but to whom the peasant replied using 
a long switch, "Leave your ancestors in peace, and what 
good have you done, geese?" No one will deny that in 1917- 
18-19-20 we solved our political and military problems 
with the heroism and success that opened a new epoch in 
world history. That belongs to us, and there is no one, 
either in the Party or in the trade unions, who is attempting 
to take this away from us — but an entirely different task 
now faces government and trade union workers. 

At the present moment you are surrounded by capital- 
ist powers who will not help you, but will hamper you; at 
the present moment you work in conditions of poverty, ruin, 
famine and calamity. You must either learn to work at a 
different rate, calculating the work to be done in decades 
and not months, relying on the worn-out mass of the 
people who cannot keep pace with the revolutionary-heroic 
momentum in their daily work; either you learn to do this, 
or you will deserve to be called geese. When a trade union 
or a political worker makes the general statement that 
the trade unions, the Communist Party run things — that 
is good. In the political and military sphere we did this 
splendidly, but in the economic field we do it very badly. 
We have to admit this and do better. "Stop wagging your 
tongue" is what I will say to any trade union worker who 
puts the general question of whether the trade unions should 
take part in production. (Applause.) It would be better 
to give me a practical reply to the question and tell me 
(if you hold a responsible position, are a man in authority, 



a Communist Party or a trade union worker) where you 
have organised production well, how many years it took 
you to do it, how many people you have under you — a 
thousand or ten thousand. Give me a list of those whom you 
have assigned to the work of economic management which 
you have completed, instead of starting twenty different 
jobs without completing a single one because you had no 
time. It happens that we in Soviet Russia have not made 
a habit of completing economic tasks so as to be able to 
talk about our success for years to come, and of not fearing to 
learn from the merchant who makes one hundred per cent 
profit and a bit more; instead we write a wonderful resolu- 
tion about raw materials and say that we are representatives 
of the Communist Party, the trade union, the proletariat. 
Forgive me, but what is the proletariat? It is the class which 
is working in large-scale industry. Where is your large-scale 
industry? What kind of proletariat is it? Where is your 
industry? Why is it at a standstill? Because there is no 
raw material? But did you succeed in collecting it? No. 
Write a resolution that it should be collected, and you 
will find yourself in a mess. And people will say, how stupid, 
and, consequently, you resemble the geese whose ancestors 
saved Rome. 

History has allotted us the task of completing the great 
political revolution by slow, hard and laborious economic 
work, covering a very long period. Great political changes 
in history have always demanded a long period of assimila- 
tion. All great political changes have come about through 
the enthusiasm of the vanguard, whom the masses followed 
spontaneously, not quite consciously. There could be no 
other development in a society that was oppressed by tsars, 
landowners and capitalists. And we carried out this part 
of the work, the political revolution, in a manner that 
makes its epoch-making significance indisputable. Sub- 
sequently, following the great political revolution, how- 
ever, another task arises which must be understood: this 
revolution has to be assimilated, has to be put into effect, 
and we must not plead that the Soviet system is bad, and 
that it must be rebuilt. We have a tremendous number of 
enthusiasts who want to rebuild in any kind of way, and 
these reconstructions lead to calamities of a kind which I 



have never known in all my life. I am very well aware of the 
faults of our government machinery in mass organisational 
work, and for every ten faults that any of you can point out 
to me, I can immediately point out a hundred more. The 
thing, however, is not that it should be improved by rapid 
reorganisation, but that this political transformation has 
to be assimilated to arrive at a different level of economic 
efficiency. That is the whole point. It is not necessary 
to rebuild, but, on the contrary, it is necessary to help 
correct the many faults present in the Soviet system and 
in the whole system of management, so as to help tens of 
millions of people. We need the aid of all the peasants 
to assimilate our great political victory. We need to look 
at things soberly and realise that victory has been won, 
but it has not yet become part and parcel of the economy 
of everyday life and of the living conditions of the people. 
This work will take many decades and will require colossal 
efforts. It cannot be carried out at the same rate, speed, 
and under the same conditions which existed during the war. 

Before concluding, I want to apply this lesson — that 
faults are sometimes the continuation of our merits — to one 
of our institutions, namely, to the Cheka. You all know, 
comrades, the violent hatred towards this institution dis- 
played by Russian emigres and those numerous members 
of the ruling classes of the imperialist countries who live 
alongside these Russian emigres. And no wonder! It was our 
effective weapon against the numerous plots and numerous 
attacks on Soviet power made by people who were infinitely 
stronger than us. The capitalists and landowners retained 
all their international ties and all the international sup- 
port; they were supported by states incomparably more 
powerful than our state. You know from the history of these 
conspiracies how these people acted. You know that the 
only way in which we could reply to them was by merciless, 
swift and instant repression, with the sympathy and support 
of the workers and peasants. That is the merit of our Cheka. 
We shall always emphasise this whenever we hear, directly 
or indirectly, as we often do from abroad, the howls of 
those Russians who can say the word "Cheka" in all lan- 
guages, and regard it as an example of Russian barbarism. 

Gentlemen, Russian and foreign capitalists! We know 



that you will never come to love this institution. No won- 
der! It was able to repulse your intrigues and plots better 
than anyone else, at a time when you throttled us, invaded 
us from all sides, when you organised internal plots and com- 
mitted every possible crime in order to frustrate our peaceful 
work. Our only response is through an institution aware 
of the plotters' every move and able to retaliate immediate- 
ly instead of engaging in persuasion. As long as there are 
exploiters in the world, who have no desire to hand over 
their landowner and capitalist rights to the workers on a 
platter, the power of the working people cannot survive 
without such an institution. We are keenly aware of this, 
but we also know that a man's merits may become his faults, 
and we know that prevailing conditions insistently demand 
that the work of this organisation be limited to the purely 
political sphere, that it concentrate its efforts on tasks in 
which it is aided by the situation and the circumstances. 
If the attempts of the counter-revolution resemble their 
previous attempts — and we have no proof that the mentality 
of our adversaries has altered in this respect, we have no 
grounds for believing this — we shall be able to reply in such 
a way that will make it clear that we are in earnest. The 
Soviet government grants admission to foreign representa- 
tives, who come here under the pretext of giving aid, but 
these same representatives turn round and help overthrow 
Soviet rule; there have been cases of this. Our government 
will not find itself in this position, because we shall value 
and make use of an institution like the Cheka. This we can 
guarantee to one and all. But, at the same time, we say 
categorically that it is essential to reform the Cheka, define 
its functions and powers, and limit its work to political 
problems. The task now confronting us is to develop trade, 
which is required by the New Economic Policy, and this 
demands greater revolutionary legality. Naturally, if we had 
made this the all-important task when we were attacked and 
Soviet power was taken by the throat, we would have been 
pedants; we would have been playing at revolution, but 
would not be making the revolution. The closer we ap- 
proach conditions of unshakable and lasting power and the 
more trade develops, the more imperative it is to put for- 
ward the firm slogan of greater revolutionary legality, 



and the narrower becomes the sphere of activity of the insti- 
tution which matches the plotters blow for blow. This con- 
clusion results from the experience, observation and reflec- 
tion of the government for the past year. 

I must say in conclusion, comrades, that we have placed 
on a correct footing the problem we have been handling this 
year and which up to now we have handled so badly — that of 
forming a sound economic alliance of the workers and peas- 
ants, even under conditions of extreme poverty and devas- 
tation; we have taken the correct line, and there can be no 
doubt about this. And this is not merely a task for Russia 
alone, it is a world task. (Stormy, prolonged applause.) 

This task which we are working on now, for the time 
being on our own, seems to be a purely Russian one, but in 
reality it is a task which all socialists will face. Capitalism 
is dying; in its death throes it can still condemn tens and 
hundreds of millions of people to unparalleled torment, 
but there is no power that can prevent its collapse. The new 
society, which will be based on the alliance of the workers 
and peasants, is inevitable. Sooner or later it will come — 
twenty years earlier or twenty years later — and when we 
work on the implementation of our New Economic Policy, 
we are helping to work out for this society the forms of 
alliance between the workers and peasants. We shall get this 
done and we shall create an alliance of the workers and peas- 
ants that is so sound that no power on earth will break it. 
(Stormy, prolonged applause.) 

Pravda No. 292, 
December 25, 1921 

Published according to 
the verbatim report 






The Ninth All-Russia Congress of Soviets, having exam- 
ined the reports of the People's Commissariats on their 
economic activities during the year under review, supple- 
ments and summarises the decisions of the Congress of 
Soviets on individual economic questions with the following 
guiding points, which must be strictly adhered to by all 
Soviet bodies at the centre and in the localities. 

1. The Congress of Soviets orders that the main and 
immediate task of all the economic bodies must be to effect, 
speedily and at all costs, stable practical improvements in 
supplying the peasantry with large quantities of the goods 
that are needed to raise the level of agriculture and improve 
the living conditions of the working peasantry. 

2. This being the main object, it must be kept in mind 
by all industrial administrative bodies, allowing of course 
no relaxation in the supply of the Red Army with every- 
thing it needs, a task which must remain primary in order 
to maintain the Soviet Republic's defence potential. 

3. The improvement of the conditions of the workers 
should also depend on the achievement of this object, which 
means that it is the duty of all workers' organisations (pri- 
marily the trade unions) to see to it that industry is so organ- 
ised as to be able speedily and fully to satisfy the require- 
ments of the peasantry; wage increases and improvement in 
the conditions of industrial workers should be directly 
determined by the degree to which success is achieved in this 



4. This object must also be pursued by the People's 
Commissariat of Finance; and the Ninth Congress of Soviets 
instructs it to make every effort to secure the speediest reduc- 
tion of the issue of paper money, eventually put a stop to it 
and establish a sound currency backed by gold. The 
substitution of taxes for the issue of paper money must be 
pursued undeviatingly without any red tape. 

5. The same object must be given priority by all bodies 
and organisations engaged in home and foreign trade, i.e., 
the Central Council of Co-operative Societies, the People's 
Commissariat of Foreign Trade, etc. The Congress of Soviets 
will judge — and instructs the leading bodies of the Soviet 
government to judge — the success of these organisations only 
by the rapid and practical results they achieve in develop- 
ing exchange between agriculture and industry. In particu- 
lar, the Congress instructs the various organisations to use 
private enterprises more widely for supplying raw materials, 
transporting these materials and for promoting trade in every 
way, while the function of state bodies is to control and di- 
rect this exchange, and sternly punish all deadening red 
tape and bureaucracy. 

6. The Ninth Congress of Soviets calls upon all organisa- 
tions and departments engaged in economic activities to 
devote infinitely more attention and energy than hitherto 
to the task of enlisting the services of all capable non-Party 
workers and peasants in this field of state activity. 

The Congress declares that in this respect we are a long 
way behind requirements, that not enough method and per- 
severance are being displayed in this matter, that it is abso- 
lutely and urgently necessary to recruit business and govern- 
ment officials from a wider circle than hitherto; and, in 
particular, that every success achieved in rebuilding 
industry and agriculture should be more regularly encouraged 
by awards of the Order of the Red Banner of Labour, as well 
as by cash bonuses. 

The Congress of Soviets draws the attention of all economic 
bodies and all mass organisations of a non-governmental, 
class character to the fact that it is absolutely essential 
still more perseveringly to enlist the services of specialists 
in economic organisation, to employ scientists and techni- 
cians, and men who by their practical activities have acquired 



experience and knowledge of trade, of organising large 
enterprises, of supervising business transactions, etc. The 
improvement of the material position of specialists and 
the training under their direction of a large number of 
workers and peasants must receive unflagging attention from 
the central and local government bodies of the R.S.F.S.R. 

7. The Ninth Congress of Soviets calls upon the People's 
Commissariat of Justice to display far more energy than 
hitherto in two matters: 

first, that the People's Courts of the Republic should 
keep close watch over the activities of private traders and 
manufacturers, and, while prohibiting the slightest restric- 
tion of their activities, should sternly punish the slightest 
attempt on their part to evade rigid compliance with the 
laws of the Republic. The People's Courts should encourage 
the masses of workers and peasants to take an independent, 
speedy and practical part in ensuring enforcement of the 

second, that the People's Courts should take more vigor- 
ous action against bureaucracy, red tape and mismanage- 
ment. Trials of such cases should be held not only for the 
purpose of increasing responsibility for the evil which it is 
so difficult to combat under present circumstances, but also 
for the purpose of focussing the attention of the masses of 
workers and peasants on this extremely important matter, 
and of securing a practical object, viz., greater success in 
the economic field. 

The Ninth Congress is of the opinion that the task of 
the People's Commissariat of Education in this new period 
is to train, in the shortest possible period, specialists in 
all fields from among the peasants and workers; and it 
orders that school and extra-mural education should be more 
closely connected with the current economic tasks of the 
Republic as a whole, as well as of the given region and 
locality. In particular, the Ninth Congress of Soviets declares 
that far from enough has been done to fulfil the decision of 
the Eighth Congress of Soviets on the popularisation of the 
plan for the electrification of Russia, and requires that every 
electric power station mobilise all competent forces and 
arrange regular talks, lectures and practical studies to acquaint 
the workers and peasants with the importance of electricity 



and with the plan for electrification. In those uyezds where 
no power stations yet exist, at least small power stations 
should be built as speedily as possible and used as local 
centres for propaganda, education and the encouragement of 
every initiative in this field. 

Written on December 25-27, 1921 

Published in Izvestia No. 295, 
December 30, 1921 

Published according to 
the manuscript 




The telegram about the British Labour Party shows how 
extraordinarily naive Krasin is. As I see it, measures of 
two kinds should now be taken: 1) a series of articles 
signed by various people and ridiculing the views of so-called 
European democracy on the Georgian problem should be 
published in the press; 2) some caustic journalist should 
be immediately commissioned to draft for Chicherin a su- 
per-polite Note in reply to the British Labour Party. In 
this Note he should make it perfectly plain that the proposal 
that we withdraw our troops from Georgia and hold a referen- 
dum there would be quite reasonable and might be recog- 
nised as coming from people who have not gone out of their 
minds, and have not been bribed by the Entente, if it 
extended to all nations of the globe; specifically, in order to 
set the British Labour Party leaders thinking about the mean- 
ing of present-day imperialist relations in international 
politics, we suggest, in particular, that that party give favour- 
able consideration to the following: first, that British 
troops be withdrawn from Ireland and that a referendum 
be held there; second, the same with regard to India; third, 
the same with regard to the withdrawal of Japanese troops 
from Korea, fourth, the same with regard to all countries 
in which there are troops of any of the big imperialist states. 
The Note should express, in superbly polite terms, the 
idea that people desirous of giving thought to these propos- 
als of ours and to the system of imperialist relations in 
international politics may prove capable of understanding 
the "interesting" nature of the proposals made by us to the 



British Labour Party. On the whole, the draft Note, couched 
in super-polite and extremely popular terms (to suit the 
intelligence of ten-year-olds), should deride the idiotic 
leaders of the British Labour Party. 

I propose that the Political Bureau consider whether it 
ought to send a copy of this letter to Krasin. I personally 
am in favour. 


December 27, 1921 

First published in Pravda No. 21, 
January 21, 1930 

Dictated by telephone 

Published according to 
a typewritten copy 



DECISION OF THE C.C., R.C.P.(B.), JANUARY 12, 1922 47 


The New Economic Policy introduces a number of 
important changes in the position of the proletariat and, con- 
sequently, in that of the trade unions. The great bulk of the 
means of production in industry and the transport system 
remains in the hands of the proletarian state. This, together 
with the nationalisation of the land, shows that the New 
Economic Policy does not change the nature of the workers' 
state, although it does substantially alter the methods and 
forms of socialist development for it permits of economic 
rivalry between socialism, which is now being built, and cap- 
italism, which is trying to revive by supplying the needs 
of the vast masses of the peasantry through the medium of 
the market. 

Changes in the forms of socialist development are necessary 
because the Communist Party and the Soviet government 
are now adopting special methods to implement the general 
policy of transition from capitalism to socialism and in 
many respects are operating differently from the way they 
operated before: they are capturing a number of positions 
by a "new flanking movement", so to speak; they are re- 
treating in order to make better preparations for a new of- 
fensive against capitalism. In particular, a free market and 
capitalism, both subject to state control, are now being 
permitted and are developing; on the other hand, the social- 
ised state enterprises are being put on what is called a 
profit basis, i.e., they are being reorganised on commercial 



lines, which, in view of the general cultural backwardness 
and exhaustion of the country, will, to a greater or lesser 
degree, inevitably give rise to the impression among the 
masses that there is an antagonism of interest between the 
management of the different enterprises and the workers 
employed in them. 



The proletarian state may, without changing its own 
nature, permit freedom to trade and the development of 
capitalism only within certain bounds, and only on the 
condition that the state regulates (supervises, controls, deter- 
mines the forms and methods of, etc.) private trade and private 
capitalism. The success of such regulation will depend not 
only on the state authorities but also, and to a larger 
extent, on the degree of maturity of the proletariat and of 
the masses of the working people generally, on their cultural 
level, etc. But even if this regulation is completely success- 
ful, the antagonism of class interests between labour and 
capital will certainly remain. Consequently, one of the main 
tasks that will henceforth confront the trade unions is to 
protect in every way the class interests of the proletariat in 
its struggle against capital. This task should be openly put 
in the forefront, and the machinery of the trade unions 
must be reorganised, changed or supplemented accordingly 
(conflict commissions, strike funds, mutual aid funds, etc., 
should be formed, or rather, built up). 


The transfer of state enterprises to the so-called profit 
basis is inevitably and inseparably connected with the New 
Economic Policy; in the near future this is bound to become 
the predominant, if not the sole, form of state enterprise. 
In actual fact, this means that with the free market now 
permitted and developing the state enterprises will to a 
large extent be put on a commercial basis. In view of the 



urgent need to increase the productivity of labour and make 
every state enterprise pay its way and show a profit, and in 
view of the inevitable rise of narrow departmental interests 
and excessive departmental zeal, this circumstance is bound 
to create a certain conflict of interests in matters concerning 
labour conditions between the masses of workers and the 
directors and managers of the state enterprises, or the govern- 
ment departments in charge of them. Therefore, as regards 
the socialised enterprises, it is undoubtedly the duty of the 
trade unions to protect the interests of the working people, 
to facilitate as far as possible the improvement of their stan- 
dard of living, and constantly to correct the blunders and 
excesses of business organisations resulting from bureaucratic 
distortions of the state apparatus. 



As long as classes exist, the class struggle is inevitable. 
In the period of transition from capitalism to socialism the 
existence of classes is inevitable; and the Programme of 
the Russian Communist Party definitely states that we are 
taking only the first steps in the transition from capitalism 
to socialism. Hence, the Communist Party, the Soviet 
government and the trade unions must frankly admit the 
existence of an economic struggle and its inevitability until 
the electrification of industry and agriculture is completed — 
at least in the main — and until small production and the 
supremacy of the market are thereby cut off at the roots. 

On the other hand, it is obvious that under capitalism the 
ultimate object of the strike struggle is to break up the state 
machine and to overthrow the given class state power. 



Under the transitional type of proletarian state such as 
ours, however, the ultimate object of every action taken 
by the working class can only be to fortify the proletarian 
state and the state power of the proletarian class by combat- 
ing the bureaucratic distortions, mistakes and flaws in 
this state, and by curbing the class appetites of the capital- 
ists who try to evade its control, etc. Hence, the Communist 
Party, the Soviet government and the trade unions must 
never forget and must never conceal from the workers and 
the mass of the working people that the strike struggle in a 
state where the proletariat holds political power can be 
explained and justified only by the bureaucratic distortions 
of the proletarian state and by all sorts of survivals of the 
old capitalist system in the government offices on the one 
hand, and by the political immaturity and cultural backward- 
ness of the mass of the working people on the other. 

Hence, when friction and disputes arise between individ- 
ual contingents of the working class and individual depart- 
ments and organs of the workers' state, the task of the trade 
unions is to facilitate the speediest and smoothest settle- 
ment of these disputes to the maximum advantage of the 
groups of workers they represent, taking care, however, 
not to prejudice the interests of other groups of workers 
and the development of the workers' state and its economy 
as a whole; for only this development can lay the founda- 
tions for the material and cultural welfare of the working 
class. The only correct, sound and expedient method of 
removing friction and of settling disputes between individ- 
ual contingents of the working class and the organs of the 
workers' state is for the trade unions to act as mediators, 
and through their competent bodies either to enter into nego- 
tiations with the competent business organisations on the 
basis of precise demands and proposals formulated by both 
sides, or appeal to higher state bodies. 

In cases where wrong actions of business organisations, 
the backwardness of certain sections of workers, the provo- 
cations of counter-revolutionary elements or, lastly, lack 
of foresight on the part of the trade union organisations them- 
selves lead to open disputes in the form of strikes in state 
enterprises, and so forth, the task of the trade unions is to 
bring about the speediest settlement of a dispute by taking 



measures in conformity with the general nature of trade 
union activities, that is, by taking steps to remove the real 
injustices and irregularities and to satisfy the lawful and 
practicable demands of the masses, by exercising political 
influence on the masses, and so forth. 

One of the most important and infallible tests of the cor- 
rectness and success of the activities of the trade unions is 
the degree to which they succeed in averting mass disputes 
in state enterprises by pursuing a far-sighted policy with a 
view to effectively protecting the interests of the masses 
of the workers in all respects and to removing in time all 
causes of dispute. 


The formal attitude of the trade unions to the automatic 
enrolment of all wage-workers as union members has intro- 
duced a certain degree of bureaucratic distortion in the trade 
unions and has caused the latter to lose touch with the broad 
mass of their membership. Hence, it is necessary most 
resolutely to implement voluntary enrolment both of indi- 
viduals and of groups into trade unions. Under no circum- 
stances must trade union members be required to subscribe 
to any specific political views; in this respect, as well as in 
respect of religion, the trade unions must be non-partisan. 
All that must be required of trade union members in the 
proletarian state is that they should understand comradely 
discipline and the necessity of uniting the workers' forces 
for the purpose of protecting the interests of the working 
people and of assisting the working people's government, i.e., 
the Soviet government. The proletarian state must encour- 
age the workers to organise in trade unions both by juridi- 
cal and material means; but the trade unions can have no 
rights without duties. 


Following its seizure of political power, the principal 
and fundamental interest of the proletariat lies in securing 
an enormous increase in the productive forces of society and 



in the output of manufactured goods. This task, which is 
clearly formulated in the Programme of the Russian Com- 
munist Party, is particularly urgent in our country today 
owing to post-war ruin, famine and dislocation. Hence, the 
speediest and most enduring success in restoring large-scale 
industry is a condition without which no success can be 
achieved in the general cause of emancipating labour from the 
yoke of capital and securing the victory of socialism. To 
achieve this success in Russia, in her present state, it is 
absolutely essential that all authority in the factories should 
be concentrated in the hands of the management. The factory 
management, usually built up on the principle of one-man 
responsibility, must have authority independently to fix 
and pay out wages, and also distribute rations, working 
clothes, and all other supplies on the basis and within the 
limits of collective agreements concluded with the trade 
unions; it must enjoy the utmost freedom to manoeuvre, 
exercise strict control of the actual successes achieved in 
increasing production, in making the factory pay its way 
and in increasing profits, and carefully select the most 
talented and capable administrative personnel, etc. 

Under these circumstances, all direct interference by 
the trade unions in the management of factories must be 
regarded as positively harmful and impermissible. 

It would be absolutely wrong, however, to interpret this 
indisputable axiom to mean that the trade unions must 
play no part in the socialist organisation of industry and 
in the management of state industry. Their participation 
in this is necessary in the following strictly defined forms. 


The proletariat is the class foundation of the state accom- 
plishing the transition from capitalism to socialism. In a 
country where the small peasantry is overwhelmingly pre- 
dominant the proletariat can successfully fulfil this function 
only if it very skilfully, cautiously and gradually estab- 



lishes an alliance with the vast majority of the peasantry. 
The trade unions must collaborate closely and constantly 
with the government, all the political and economic activi- 
ties of which are guided by the class-conscious vanguard of 
the working class — the Communist Party. Being a school of 
communism in general, the trade unions must, in particu- 
lar, be a school for training the whole mass of workers, and 
eventually all working people, in the art of managing social- 
ist industry (and gradually also agriculture). 

Proceeding from these principles, the trade unions' part 
in the activities of the business and administrative organi- 
sations of the proletarian state should, in the immediate 
period, take the following main forms: 

1. The trade unions should help to staff all the state business 
and administrative bodies connected with economies: nom- 
inate their candidates for them, stating their length of ser- 
vice, experience, and so forth. Right of decision lies solely 
with the business organisations, which also bear full respon- 
sibility for the activities of the respective organisations. 
The business organisations, however, must give careful 
consideration to the views on all candidates expressed by 
the trade unions concerned. 

2. One of the most important functions of the trade unions 
is to promote and train factory managers from among the 
workers and the masses of the working people generally. 
At the present time we have scores of such factory man- 
agers who are quite satisfactory, and hundreds who are more 
or less satisfactory, but very soon, however, we must have 
hundreds of the former and thousands of the latter. The trade 
unions must much more carefully and regularly than 
hitherto keep a systematic register of all workers and peas- 
ants capable of holding posts of this kind, and thoroughly, 
efficiently and from every aspect verify the progress they 
make in learning the art of management. 

3. The trade unions must take a far greater part in the 
activities of all the planning bodies of the proletarian 
state, in drawing up economic plans and also programmes of 
production and expenditure of stocks of material supplies 
for the workers, in selecting the factories that are to con- 
tinue to receive state supplies, to be leased, or to be given out 
as concessions, etc. The trade unions should undertake no 



direct functions of controlling production in private and 
leased enterprises, but participate in the regulation of private 
capitalist production exclusively by sharing in the activi- 
ties of the competent state bodies. In addition to participat- 
ing in all cultural and educational activities and in produc- 
tion propaganda, the trade unions must also, on an increasing 
scale, enlist the working class and the masses of the work- 
ing people generally for all branches of the work of building 
up the state economy; they must make them familiar with 
all aspects of economic life and with all details of industrial 
operations — from the procurement of raw materials to the 
marketing of the product; give them a more and more con- 
crete understanding of the single state plan of socialist econ- 
omy and the worker's and peasant's practical interest in 
its implementation. 

4. The drawing up of scales of wages and supplies, etc., 
is one of the essential functions of the trade unions in the 
building of socialism and in their participation in the man- 
agement of industry. In particular, disciplinary courts 
should steadily improve labour discipline and proper ways 
of promoting it and achieving increased productivity; but 
they must not interfere with the functions of the People's 
Courts in general or with the functions of factory manage- 

This list of the major functions of the trade unions in the 
work of building up socialist economy should, of course, 
be drawn up in greater detail by the competent trade union 
and government bodies. Taking into account the experience 
of the enormous work accomplished by the unions in organis- 
ing the economy and its management, and also the mistakes 
which have caused no little harm and which resulted from 
direct, unqualified, incompetent and irresponsible interfer- 
ence in administrative matters, it is most important, in 
order to restore the economy and strengthen the Soviet sys- 
tem, deliberately and resolutely to start persevering practi- 
cal activities calculated to extend over a long period of years 
and designed to give the workers and all working people 
generally practical training in the art of managing the 
economy of the whole country. 




Contact with the masses, i.e., with the overwhelming 
majority of the workers (and eventually of all the working 
people), is the most important and most fundamental con- 
dition for the success of all trade union activity. In all the 
trade union organisations and their machinery, from bot- 
tom up, there should be instituted, and tested in practice 
over a period of many years, a system of responsible com- 
rades — who must not all be Communists — who should live 
right among the workers, study their lives in every detail, 
and be able unerringly, on any question, and at any time, to 
judge the mood, the real aspirations, needs and thoughts 
of the masses. They must be able without a shadow of false 
idealisation to define the degree of their class-consciousness 
and the extent to which they are influenced by various prej- 
udices and survivals of the past; and they must be able to 
win the boundless confidence of the masses by comradeship 
and concern for their needs. One of the greatest and most 
serious dangers that confront the numerically small Commu- 
nist Party which, as the vanguard of the working class, is 
guiding a vast country in the process of transition to social- 
ism (for the time being without the direct support of the more 
advanced countries), is isolation from the masses, the danger 
that the vanguard may run too far ahead and fail to 
"straighten out the line", fail to maintain firm contact with 
the whole army of labour, i.e., with the overwhelming major- 
ity of workers and peasants. Just as the very best factory, 
with the very best motors and first-class machines, will be 
forced to remain idle if the transmission belts from the 
motors to the machines are damaged, so our work of socialist 
construction must meet with inevitable disaster if the trade 
unions — the transmission belts from the Communist Party 
to the masses — are badly fitted or function badly. It is not 
sufficient to explain, to reiterate and corroborate this truth; 
it must be backed up organisationally by the whole structure 
of the trade unions and by their everyday activities. 




From all the foregoing it is evident that there are a num- 
ber of contradictions in the various functions of the trade 
unions. On the one hand, their principal method of opera- 
tion is that of persuasion and education; on the other hand, 
as participants in the exercise of state power they cannot 
refuse to share in coercion. On the one hand, their main 
function is to protect the interests of the masses of the work- 
ing people in the most direct and immediate sense of the 
term; on the other hand, as participants in the exercise 
of state power and builders of the economy as a whole they 
cannot refuse to resort to pressure. On the one hand, they 
must operate in military fashion, for the dictatorship of 
the proletariat is the fiercest, most dogged and most desper- 
ate class war; on the other hand, specifically military 
methods of operation are least of all applicable to the trade 
unions. On the one hand, they must be able to adapt them- 
selves to the masses, to their level; on the other hand, they 
must never pander to the prejudices and backwardness 
of the masses, but steadily raise them to a higher and higher 
level, etc., etc. These contradictions are no accident, and 
they will persist for several decades; for as long as surviv- 
als of capitalism and small production remain, contra- 
dictions between them and the young shoots of socialism 
are inevitable throughout the social system. 

Two practical conclusions must be drawn from this. 
First, for the successful conduct of trade union activities 
it is not enough to understand their functions correctly, it 
is not enough to organise them properly. In addition, spe- 
cial tact is required, ability to approach the masses in a spe- 
cial way in each individual case for the purpose of raising 
these masses to a higher cultural, economic and political stage 
with the minimum of friction. 

Second, the afore-mentioned contradictions will inevi- 
tably give rise to disputes, disagreements, friction, etc. 
A higher body is required with sufficient authority to settle 
these at once. This higher body is the Communist Party 
and the international federation of the Communist Parties 
of all countries — the Communist International. 




The main principles of this question are set forth in the 
Programme of the Russian Communist Party; but these 
will remain paper principles if constant attention is not paid 
to the facts which indicate the degree to which they are put 
into practice. Recent facts of this kind are: first, cases of 
the murder of engineers by workers in socialised mines not 
only in the Urals, but also in the Donets Basin; second 
the suicide of V. V. Oldenborger, Chief Engineer of the Mos- 
cow Waterworks, because of the intolerable working con- 
ditions due to the incompetent and impermissible conduct 
of the members of the Communist group, as well as of 
organs of the Soviet government, which prompted the All- 
Russia Central Executive Committee to turn the whole 
matter over to the judicial authorities. 

The Communist Party and the Soviet government as a 
whole bear a far greater share of the blame for cases of this 
kind than the trade unions. But the present issue is not 
one of establishing the degree of political guilt, but of 
drawing certain political conclusions. Unless our leading 
bodies, i.e., the Communist Party, the Soviet government 
and the trade unions, guard as the apple of their eye every 
specialist who does his work conscientiously and knows and 
loves it — even though the ideas of communism are totally 
alien to him — it will be useless to expect any serious prog- 
ress in socialist construction. We may not be able to achieve 
it soon, but we must at all costs achieve a situation in which 
specialists — as a separate social stratum, which will persist 
until we have reached the highest stage of development of 
communist society — can enjoy better conditions of life 
under socialism than they enjoyed under capitalism insofar 
as concerns their material and legal status, comradely col- 
laboration with the workers and peasants, and in the mental 
plane, i.e., finding satisfaction in their work, realising that 
it is socially useful and independent of the sordid interests 
of the capitalist class. Nobody will regard a government 
department as being tolerably well organised if it does not 
take systematic measures to provide for all the needs of the 
specialists, to reward the best of them, to safeguard and protect 
their interests, etc., and does not secure practical results in this. 



The trade unions must conduct all the activities of the 
type indicated (or systematically collaborate in the activi- 
ties of all the government departments concerned) not from 
the point of view of the interests of the given department, 
but from the point of view of the interests of labour and of 
the economy as a whole. With regard to the specialists, on 
the trade unions devolves the very arduous duty of daily 
exercising influence on the broad masses of the working 
people in order to create proper relations between them and 
the specialists. Only such activities can produce really 
important practical results. 


Trade unions are really effective only when they unite 
very broad strata of the non-Party workers. This must give 
rise — particularly in a country in which the peasantry great- 
ly predominates — to relative stability, specifically among 
the trade unions, of those political influences that serve as 
the superstructure over the remnants of capitalism and over 
small production. These influences are petty-bourgeois, i.e., 
Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik (the Russian varie- 
ty of the parties of the Second and Two-and-a-Half Interna- 
tionals) on the one hand, and anarchist on the other. Only 
among these trends has any considerable number of people 
remained who defend capitalism ideologically and not from 
selfish class motives, and continue to believe in the non-class 
nature of the "democracy", "equality", and "liberty" in 
general that they preach. 

It is to this socio-economic cause and not to the role 
of individual groups, still less of individual persons, that 
we must attribute the survivals (sometimes even the reviv- 
al) in our country of such petty-bourgeois ideas among 
the trade unions. The Communist Party, the Soviet bodies 
that conduct cultural and educational activities and all 
Communist members of trade unions must therefore devote 
far more attention to the ideological struggle against petty- 
bourgeois influences, trends and deviations among the 
trade unions, especially because the New Economic Policy 



is bound to lead to a certain strengthening of capitalism. 
It is urgently necessary to counteract this by intensifying 
the struggle against petty-bourgeois influences upon the 
working class. 

Central Committee, 
Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) 

Written December 30, Published according to 

1921-January 4, 1922 the newspaper text 

Published in Pravda No. 12, checked with 

January 17, 1922 the manuscript 




The Political Bureau brings to the notice of all economic 
bodies that now, after the Party Conference in December 
1921 and the Ninth Congress of Soviets, the New Economic 
Policy has been quite firmly and clearly established. 

The maximum effort must therefore be made to test it 
in practice as quickly and as widely as possible. All general 
arguments, theoretical arguments and debates on the subject 
of the New Economic Policy must be relegated to debating 
clubs, partly to the press. They must be rooted out relent- 
lessly from the Council of People's Commissars, the 
Council of Labour and Defence and all economic bodies. 
All sorts of commissions must be reduced to the absolute 
minimum and commission conferences replaced by the 
demand for written amendments or counter-drafts from all 
interested departments within the shortest period (one or two 
days). The Higher Economic Commission should be turned 
into a body engaged solely in classifying and pooling the 
economic acts promulgated by the state, and all sorts of so- 
called commission discussion should, if possible, be ruled 
out. The Higher Economic Commission must accelerate and 
not slow down the general course of the work. 

The Political Bureau requires the People's Commissariat 
of Finance to concentrate all its efforts on achieving the 
speediest possible increase of the number of taxes and increas- 
ing the revenues from them, and also on business-like amend- 
ments to the general budget. All arguments about the 
money policy, the replacement of the tax in kind by cash 
taxes, etc., should be taken partly to debating clubs and part- 
ly to the press. 



The Political Bureau requires all People's Commissars to 
display the utmost speed and energy in eliminating bureauc- 
racy and red tape in the testing of the New Economic 
Policy in practice; the Political Bureau requires that bon- 
uses be instituted for the largest possible number of persons 
holding responsible positions for speedily increasing output 
and expanding both home and foreign trade. This require- 
ment concerns, first and foremost, the People's Commis- 
sariat of Foreign Trade, then the State Bank (particularly 
its trade department), the Central Council of Co-operative 
Societies and the Supreme Economic Council. 

After this draft has been endorsed in the Political Bureau, 
have it read to and signed by all members of the collegiums 
of all People's Commissariats and all members of the Presid- 
ium of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee. 

Written between Published according to 

January 9 and 12, 1922 the manuscript and a 
First published in 1942 typewritten copy 

in Lenin Miscellany XXXIV 



I gratefully accept your gift, which is the result of the crea- 
tive initiative of the working people of Daghestan. 

I wish you success in the difficult work of reviving the 
economy of Daghestan. 


Chairman of the Council 
of People's Commissars 
of the R.S.F.S.R. 

January 12, 1922 

Izvestia No. 10, 
January 14, 1922 

Dictated by telephone 

Published according to 
a typewritten copy 




Comrade Sergo, 

It is absolutely essential that the Congress of Soviets of 
Georgia should adopt a decision to strengthen the Georgian 
Red Army without fail, and that the decision is really car- 
ried out. 

In the last resort, if the peasants are opposed to this, 
a decision, couched in the most general terms, should be 
adopted, such as it is deemed essential "without fail to 
strengthen the Georgian Red Army and to call upon all 
government bodies and all the working people to work 
to secure this", etc. 

Actually, however, it is necessary, at all costs, and imme- 
diately, to develop and strengthen the Georgian Red Army. 
As a beginning let it consist only of one brigade or even less; 
two or three thousand Red cadets — of whom 1,500 should 
be Communists — who (as cadres) could serve as the nucleus 
of an army when the contingency arises. This is absolutely 

Perhaps Stalin will enlarge on the military and technical 
methods of carrying this out. 

I am confining myself to the political aspect of the matter: 
those who fail to carry this out will be expelled from the 
Party without compunction. This is not a matter to be trifled 
with. It is absolutely essential politically; and you personal- 
ly, and the entire Georgian Central Committee, will be held 
responsible to the whole Party for this. 

I await your reply. 



February 13 



This is for Comrade Sergo and for all the members of the 
Central Committee of the Georgian Communist Party. 

Written on February 13, 1922 

First published in 1925 in M. D. 
Orakhelashvili, Lenin i Z.S.F.S.R. 
(Materially) (Lenin and the Trans- 
caucasian Soviet Federative Socia- 
list Republic [Dokuments]), Tiflis, 
Sovetsky Kavkaz Publishing House 

Published according to 
a typewritten copy 
supplemented and signed 
by Lenin 



February 28, 1922 

Comrade Kursky, 

Re your letter of February 23 (No. 255) in reply to my 

I shall try to see you personally, but I cannot promise 
it because I am not feeling well. 

I hope that after the meeting of executives in connection 
with my letter, you will write to me about its practical 
results. It is particularly important to organise a real check 
of what is actually being done, what is actually being 
accomplished, what the People's Courts and the Revolution- 
ary Tribunals have achieved and how this can be assessed 
and verified. 

How many cases of abuses of the New Economic Policy 
have been tried? 

How many sentenced, and what punishments (as a whole 
and not in individual cases)? 


With communist greetings, 


Especially urgent and important: 

P.S. Re the Civil Codes 51 : I am unable to go into the word- 
ing of individual articles. My health does not permit me to 
do so. 

I must confine myself to the following points: 

1) The People's Commissar of Justice must find out and 

personally check who precisely is responsible for each major 

section of the Civil Code. 



2) Everything that the literature and experience of the 
West-European countries contain on the protection of the 
working people must be used. 

3) Do not limit yourself to that (this is most important). 
Do not follow the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs 
blindly. We must not play up to '''Europe'" but MOVE 
FARTHER in intensifying state interference in "private 
legal relations", in civil affairs. I cannot say exactly how 
that ought to be done because I am in no condition either to 
study the question or to go into even an individual code. 
But that that must be done is clear to me. The danger threat- 
ening us in this field is that of underdoing it (and not that 
of overdoing it); that, too, is perfectly clear to me. On the 
eve of Genoa 52 we must not make a false move, show a lack 
of spirit, let slip out of our hands the slightest possibility 
of extending state interference in "civil" relations. 


First published in 1945 
in Lenin Miscellany XXXV 

Published according to 
the manuscript 






Let us picture to ourselves a man ascending a very high, 
steep and hitherto unexplored mountain. Let us assume that 
he has overcome unprecedented difficulties and dangers and 
has succeeded in reaching a much higher point than any of 
his predecessors, but still has not reached the summit. He 
finds himself in a position where it is not only difficult and 
dangerous to proceed in the direction and along the path 
he has chosen, but positively impossible. He is forced to 
turn back, descend, seek another path, longer, perhaps, 
but one that will enable him to reach the summit. The de- 
scent from the height that no one before him has reached 
proves, perhaps, to be more dangerous and difficult for our 
imaginary traveller than the ascent — it is easier to slip; it is 
not so easy to choose a foothold; there is not that exhila- 
ration that one feels in going upwards, straight to the goal, 
etc. One has to tie a rope round oneself, spend hours with an 
alpenstock to cut footholds or a projection to which the rope 
could be tied firmly; one has to move at a snail's pace, and 
move downwards, descend, away from the goal; and one does 
not know where this extremely dangerous and painful des- 
cent will end, or whether there is a fairly safe detour by which 
one can ascend more boldly, more quickly and more directly 
to the summit. 

It would hardly be natural to suppose that a man who 
had climbed to such an unprecedented height but found 
himself in such a position did not have his moments of des- 
pondency. In all probability these moments would be more 



numerous, more frequent and harder to bear if he heard the 
voices of those below, who, through a telescope and from a safe 
distance, are watching his dangerous descent, which cannot 
even be described as what the Smena Vekh 54 people call 
"ascending with the brakes on"; brakes presuppose a well- 
designed and tested vehicle, a well-prepared road and pre- 
viously tested appliances. In this case, however, there is no 
vehicle, no road, absolutely nothing that had been tested 

The voices from below ring with malicious joy. They do 
not conceal it; they chuckle gleefully and shout: "He'll 
fall in a minute! Serve him right, the lunatic!" Others try 
to conceal their malicious glee and behave mostly like Judas 
Golovlyov. 55 They moan and raise their eyes to heaven in 
sorrow, as if to say: "It grieves us sorely to see our fears 
justified! But did not we, who have spent all our lives work- 
ing out a judicious plan for scaling this mountain, demand 
that the ascent be postponed until our plan was complete? 
And if we so vehemently protested against taking this path, 
which this lunatic is now abandoning (look, look, he has 
turned back! He is descending! A single step is taking him 
hours of preparation! And yet we were roundly abused when 
time and again we demanded moderation and caution!), 
if we so fervently censured this lunatic and warned every- 
body against imitating and helping him, we did so entirely 
because of our devotion to the great plan to scale this moun- 
tain, and in order to prevent this great plan from being gen- 
erally discredited!" 

Happily, in the circumstances we have described, our 
imaginary traveller cannot hear the voices of these people 
who are "true friends" of the idea of ascent; if he did, they 
would probably nauseate him. And nausea, it is said, does 
not help one to keep a clear head and a firm step, particu- 
larly at high altitudes. 



An analogy is not proof. Every analogy is lame. These 
are incontrovertible and common truths; but it would do no 
harm to recall them in order to see the limits of every analogy 
more clearly. 



Russia's proletariat rose to a gigantic height in its 
revolution, not only when it is compared with 1789 and 1793, 
but also when compared with 1871. We must take stock of 
what we have done and what we have not as dispassionately, 
as clearly and as concretely as possible. If we do that we 
shall be able to keep clear heads. We shall not suffer from 
nausea, illusions, or despondency. 

We wound up the bourgeois-democratic revolution more 
thoroughly than had ever been done before anywhere in the 
world. That is a great gain, and no power on earth can 
deprive us of it. 

We accomplished the task of getting out of the most reac- 
tionary imperialist war in a revolutionary way. That, too, 
is a gain no power on earth can deprive us of; it is a gain 
which is all the more valuable for the reason that reactionary 
imperialist massacres are inevitable in the not distant future 
if capitalism continues to exist; and the people of the twen- 
tieth century will not be so easily satisfied with a second 
edition of the "Basle Manifesto", with which the renegades, 
the heroes of the Second and the Two-and-a-Half Internation- 
als, fooled themselves and the workers in 1912 and 1914-18. 

We have created a Soviet type of state and by that we 
have ushered in a new era in world history, the era of the 
political rule of the proletariat, which is to supersede the 
era of bourgeois rule. Nobody can deprive us of this, either, 
although the Soviet type of state will have the finishing 
touches put to it only with the aid of the practical experience 
of the working class of several countries. 

But we have not finished building even the foundations 
of socialist economy and the hostile powers of moribund 
capitalism can still deprive us of that. We must clearly 
appreciate this and frankly admit it; for there is nothing 
more dangerous than illusions (and vertigo, particularly at 
high altitudes). And there is absolutely nothing terrible, 
nothing that should give legitimate grounds for the slight- 
est despondency, in admitting this bitter truth; for we have 
always urged and reiterated the elementary truth of Marx- 
ism — that the joint efforts of the workers of several advanced 
countries are needed for the victory of socialism. We are 
still alone and in a backward country, a country that was 
ruined more than others, but we have accomplished a great 



deal. More than that — we have preserved intact the army of 
the revolutionary proletarian forces; we have preserved its 
manoeuvring ability; we have kept clear heads and can sober- 
ly calculate where, when and how far to retreat (in order to 
leap further forward); where, when and how to set to work 
to alter what has remained unfinished. Those Communists 
are doomed who imagine that it is possible to finish such an 
epoch-making undertaking as completing the foundations 
of socialist economy (particularly in a small-peasant country) 
without making mistakes, without retreats, without numer- 
ous alterations to what is unfinished or wrongly done. Com- 
munists who have no illusions, who do not give way to 
despondency, and who preserve their strength and flexibility 
"to begin from the beginning" over and over again in 
approaching an extremely difficult task, are not doomed 
(and in all probability will not perish). 

And still less permissible is it for us to give way to the 
slightest degree of despondency; we have still less grounds 
for doing so because, notwithstanding the ruin, poverty, 
backwardness and starvation prevailing in our country, 
in the economics that prepare the way for socialism we have 
begun to make progress, while side by side with us, all over 
the world, countries which are more advanced, and a thou- 
sand times wealthier and militarily stronger than we are, 
are still retrogressing in their own vaunted, familiar, capi- 
talist economic field, in which they have worked for cen- 



The following is said to be the most reliable method of 
catching foxes. The fox that is being tracked is surrounded 
at a certain distance with a rope which is set at a little height 
from the snow-covered ground and to which are attached 
little red flags. Fearing this obviously artificial human 
device, the fox will emerge only if and where an opening is 
allowed in this fence of flags; and the hunter waits for it at 
this opening. One would think that caution would be the 
most marked trait of an animal that is hunted by everybody. 



But it turns out that in this case, too, "virtue unduly 
prolonged" is a fault. The fox is caught precisely because it 
is over-cautious. 

I must confess to a mistake I made at the Third Congress 
of the Communist International also as a result of over- 
caution. At that Congress I was on the extreme Right flank. I 
am convinced that it was the only correct stand to take, for 
a very large (and influential) group of delegates, headed by 
many German, Hungarian and Italian comrades, occupied 
an inordinately "Left" and incorrectly Left position, and 
far too often, instead of soberly weighing up the situation 
that was not very favourable for immediate and direct revo- 
lutionary action, they vigorously indulged in the waving 
of little red flags. Out of caution and a desire to prevent this 
undoubtedly wrong deviation towards Leftism from giving 
a false direction to the whole tactics of the Communist 
International, I did all I could to defend Levi. I suggested that 
perhaps he had lost his head (I did not deny that he had lost 
his head) because he had been very frightened by the mis- 
takes of the Lefts; and I argued that there had been cases of 
Communists who had lost their heads "finding" them again 
afterwards. Even while admitting, under pressure of the 
Lefts, that Levi was a Menshevik, I said that such an admis- 
sion did not settle the question. For example, the whole 
history of the fifteen years of struggle between the Menshe- 
viks and the Bolsheviks in Russia (1903-17) proves, as the 
three Russian revolutions also prove, that, in general, the 
Mensheviks were absolutely wrong and that they were, in 
fact, agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement. 
This fact is incontrovertible. But this incontrovertible fact 
does not eliminate the other fact that in individual cases the 
Mensheviks were right and the Bolsheviks wrong, as, for exam- 
ple, on the question of boycotting the Stolypin Duma in 1907. 

Eight months have elapsed since the Third Congress of 
the Communist International. Obviously, our controversy 
with the Lefts is now outdated; events have settled it. It 
has been proved that I was wrong about Levi, because he 
has definitely shown that he took the Menshevik path not 
accidentally, not temporarily, not by "going too far" in 
combating the very dangerous mistakes of the Lefts, but 
deliberately and permanently, because of his very nature. 



Instead of honestly admitting that it was necessary for him 
to appeal for readmission to the party after the Third Con- 
gress of the Communist International, as every person who 
had temporarily lost his head when irritated by some mis- 
takes committed by the Lefts should have done, Levi began 
to play sly tricks on the party, to try to put a spoke in its 
wheel, i.e., actually he began to serve those agents of the 
bourgeoisie, the Second and the Two-and-a-Half Interna- 
tionals. Of course, the German Communists were quite right 
when they retaliated to this recently by expelling several 
more gentlemen from their party, those who were found 
to be secretly helping Paul Levi in this noble occupation. 

The development of the German and Italian Communist 
Parties since the Third Congress of the Comintern has shown 
that the mistakes committed by the Lefts at that Congress 
have been noted and are being rectified — little by little, 
slowly, but steadily; the decisions of the Third Congress 
of the Communist International are being loyally carried 
out. The process of transforming the old type of European 
parliamentary party — which in fact is reformist and only 
slightly tinted with revolutionary colours — into a new type 
of party, into a genuinely revolutionary, genuinely Commu- 
nist Party, is an extremely arduous one. This is demonstrated 
most clearly, perhaps, by the example of France. The process 
of changing the type of Party work in everyday life, of getting 
it out of the humdrum channel; the process of converting 
the Party into the vanguard of the revolutionary proletariat 
without permitting it to become divorced from the masses, 
but, on the contrary, by linking it more and more closely 
with them, imbuing them with revolutionary consciousness 
and rousing them for the revolutionary struggle, is a very 
difficult, but most important one. If the European Commu- 
nists do not take advantage of the intervals (probably very 
short) between the periods of particularly acute revolution- 
ary battles — such as took place in many capitalist countries 
of Europe and America in 1921 and the beginning of 1922 — 
for the purpose of bringing about this fundamental, inter- 
nal, profound reorganisation of the whole structure of their 
Parties and of their work, they will be committing the grav- 
est of crimes. Fortunately, there is no reason to fear this. 
The quiet, steady, calm, not very rapid, but profound work 



of creating genuine Communist Parties, genuine revolution- 
ary vanguards of the proletariat, has begun and is proceed- 
ing in Europe and America. 

Political lessons taken even from the observation of such 
a trivial thing as catching foxes prove to be useful. On the 
one hand, excessive caution leads to mistakes. On the other 
hand, it must not be forgotten that if we give way to mere 
"sentiment" or indulge in the waving of little red flags 
instead of soberly weighing up the situation, we may commit 
irreparable mistakes; we may perish where there is absolute- 
ly no need to, although the difficulties are great. 

Paul Levi now wants to get into the good graces of the 
bourgeoisie — and, consequently , of its agents, the Second and 
the Two-and-a-Half Internationals — by republishing pre- 
cisely those writings of Rosa Luxemburg in which she was 
wrong. We shall reply to this by quoting two lines from a 
good old Russian fable 56 : "Eagles may at times fly lower 
than hens, but hens can never rise to the height of eagles." 
Rosa Luxemburg was mistaken on the question of the inde- 
pendence of Poland; she was mistaken in 1903 in her apprais- 
al of Menshevism; she was mistaken on the theory of the 
accumulation of capital; she was mistaken in July 1914, 
when, together with Plekhanov, Vandervelde, Kautsky and 
others, she advocated unity between the Bolsheviks and 
Mensheviks; she was mistaken in what she wrote in prison 
in 1918 (she corrected most of these mistakes at the end of 
1918 and the beginning of 1919 after she was released). 
But in spite of her mistakes she was — and remains for us — 
an eagle. And not only will Communists all over the world 
cherish her memory, but her biography and her complete 
works (the publication of which the German Communists 
are inordinately delaying, which can only be partly excused 
by the tremendous losses they are suffering in their severe 
struggle) will serve as useful manuals for training many 
generations of Communists all over the world. "Since 
August 4, 1914, 57 German Social-Democracy has been a stink- 
ing corpse" — this statement will make Rosa Luxemburg's 
name famous in the history of the international working- 
class movement. And, of course, in the backyard of the work- 
ing-class movement, among the dung heaps, hens like Paul 
Levi, Scheidemann, Kautsky and all that fraternity will 



cackle over the mistakes committed by the great Communist. 
To every man his own. 

As for Serrati, he is like a bad egg, which bursts with 
a loud noise and with an exceptionally — pungent smell. 
Is it not too rich to get carried at "his" congress a resolution 
that declares readiness to submit to the decision of the Con- 
gress of the Communist International, then to send old Laz- 
zari to the Congress, and finally, to cheat the workers as 
brazenly as a horse-coper? The Italian Communists who are 
training a real party of the revolutionary proletariat in 
Italy will now be able to give the working masses an object 
lesson in political chicanery and Menshevism. The useful, 
repelling effect of this will not be felt immediately, not 
without many repeated object lessons, but it will be felt. 
The victory of the Italian Communists is assured if they 
do not isolate themselves from the masses, if they do not 
lose patience in the hard work of exposing all of Serrati's chi- 
canery to rank-and-file workers in a practical way, if they 
do not yield to the very easy and very dangerous tempta- 
tion to say "minus a" whenever Serrati says "a", if they 
steadily train the masses to adopt a revolutionary world 
outlook and prepare them for revolutionary action, if they 
also take practical advantage of the practical and magnificent 
(although costly) object lessons of fascism. 

Levi and Serrati are not characteristic in themselves; 
they are characteristic of the modern type of the extreme 
Left wing of petty-bourgeois democracy, of the camp of the 
"other side", the camp of the international capitalists, 
the camp that is against us. The whole of "their" camp, 
from Gompers to Serrati, are gloating, exulting, or else 
shedding crocodile tears over our retreat, our "descent", 
our New Economic Policy. Let them gloat, let them perform 
their clownish antics. To every man his own. But we shall not 
harbour any illusions or give way to despondency. If we are 
not afraid of admitting our mistakes, not afraid of making 
repeated efforts to rectify them — we shall reach the very 
summit. The cause of the international bloc from Gompers 
to Serrati is doomed. 

Written at the end Published according 

of February 1922 to the manuscript 

First published in Pravda 
No. 87, April 16, 1924 




(Stormy applause.) Comrades, permit me to depart some- 
what from your usual procedure and speak today not of the 
subjects on the agenda of your meeting and Congress, but 
of my conclusions and opinions on the principal political 
problems. It has now become the custom to address those 
who, while not being official representatives of state depart- 
ments, actually perform an enormous part of the work of the 
state. You all know that really business-like work is being 
done in most of our state departments by representatives of 
the working class, and this, of course, includes the metal- 
workers, who are in the front ranks. 

That is why I think in this case it will not be out of place 
to depart from the usual procedure and to speak not so much 
on trade union and Party issues as on political issues, on our 
international and domestic situation. In my opinion there 
is something in our international and domestic situation 
that resembles some change of policy to which every Party 
member, and, of course, every class-conscious worker, 
should pay special attention in order that he may fully 
understand the significance of this change of policy, and be 
able properly to assimilate it and apply it in his Soviet, 
Party, trade union or other work. 

Of course, comrades, you all know that Genoa remains in 
the forefront of the problems of our international politics. 
I am not very sure that it does so legitimately, for when we 
say "Genoa" we mean the Conference that everybody long 
ago heard about, the Conference that was to have taken 



place in Genoa, Italy. The preparations for it had been 
almost completed; but now, unfortunately, the situation is so 
indefinite that nobody knows (and I am afraid that even the 
initiators and organisers themselves do not know) whether 
there is much chance of its taking place or not. At all events, 
we must say to ourselves, and to all those who have any 
interest in the destiny of the workers' and peasants' republic, 
that our position on this question, that is, on the question of 
the Genoa Conference, has been absolutely firm from the 
very beginning, and remains so. It is not our fault if certain 
people lack not only firmness but even the most elementary 
determination, the most elementary ability to carry out 
their own plans. From the very beginning we declared that 
we welcomed Genoa and would attend it. We understood per- 
fectly well and did not in the least conceal the fact that we 
were going there as merchants, because trade with capital- 
ist countries (as long as they have not entirely collapsed) 
is absolutely essential to us; we realised that we were going 
to Genoa to bargain for the most proper and most advanta- 
geous and politically suitable terms for this trade, and 
nothing more. This is by no means a secret to those capitalist 
countries whose governments drew up the first plan for the 
Genoa Conference and got it going. Those countries know 
perfectly well that the list of commercial agreements link- 
ing us with different capitalist states is growing longer and 
longer, that the number of practical transactions is increas- 
ing, and that we are now discussing in the greatest detail a 
huge number of joint Russian and foreign commercial proj- 
ects between the most diverse combinations of foreign coun- 
tries and various branches of our industry. Thus, the capital- 
ist states are well aware of the practical basis of what is 
mainly to be discussed at Genoa. And this basis has a super- 
structure consisting of all sorts of political talk, assumptions 
and projects, but we must realise that it is only a little one, 
largely artificial, designed and erected by those who are 
interested in it. 

It goes without saying that during the more than four 
years' existence of Soviet power we have acquired suffi- 
cient practical experience (apart from the fact that we are 
already quite familiar with it in theory) to enable us to 
appraise correctly the diplomatic game the gentlemen who 



represent the bourgeois countries are today playing according 
to all the rules of the obsolete art of bourgeois diplomacy. 
We know perfectly well what lies at the bottom of this 
game, we know that it is trade. The bourgeois countries must 
trade with Russia; they know that unless they establish some 
form of economic relations their disintegration will continue 
in the way it has done up to now. Notwithstanding all their 
magnificent victories, notwithstanding the endless boasting 
with which they fill the newspapers and telegraph services 
of the whole world, their economy is falling to pieces. And 
after more than three years of effort, after their great victo- 
ries, they cannot cope with the very simple task of restoring 
the old, let alone building anything new, and are still rack- 
ing their brains over the problem of how to get together and 
form some combination of three, four, or five (the number 
is so large, you see, that it is frightfully difficult to reach an 
agreement) so as to be able to trade. 

I can understand that Communists need time to learn to 
trade, and I know that those who are learning will be making 
the crudest of mistakes for several years; but history will 
forgive them because they are entirely new to the business. 
For this purpose we must make our thinking more flexible, 
and must discard all communist, or rather Russian, Oblo- 
movism, 59 and much more besides. But it is strange for 
representatives of bourgeois countries to have to learn the 
trading business all over again, after they have been engaged 
in it for hundreds of years, and when the whole of their 
social life is based upon it. Incidentally, it should not seem 
so strange to us. For a long time we have been saying, and we 
always knew, that their appraisal of the imperialist war was 
less correct than ours. They appraised it from what they 
could see directly in front of them, and three years after their 
tremendous victories they still cannot find a way out of the 

We Communists said that our appraisal of the war was 
more profound and correct; that its contradictions and its 
disasters would have a far broader impact than the capital- 
ist countries imagined. And, looking at the bourgeois victor 
countries from outside, we said: they will recall our fore- 
cast and our appraisal of the war and its consequences more 
than once. The fact that they do not understand the simplest 



things does not surprise us. But we nevertheless say, "We 
must trade with the capitalist countries as long as they 
exist." We shall negotiate with them as merchants; and the 
fact we can do so is proved by the increasing number of trade 
agreements we are signing and negotiating with them. But 
we cannot publish them until they are signed. From the com- 
mercial point of view we, of course, have to agree when a 
capitalist merchant comes to us and says, "This deal must 
remain between ourselves until the negotiations are com- 
pleted." We, however, know how many agreements are in 
course of preparation — the list alone fills several pages, and 
it includes scores of practical proposals that have been dis- 
cussed in detail with important financial groups. Of course, 
the gentlemen representing the bourgeois countries gathering 
at Genoa are as well aware of this as we are; whatever the posi- 
tion may be as regards other matters, contacts between these 
governments and their capitalist firms have, of course, been 
maintained. Even they are not so terribly lax as not to 
know of this. 

Since in foreign telegrams we are continually reading 
statements which create the impression that they do not 
know exactly what will take place at Genoa, that they have 
something new up their sleeve, that they want to astonish 
the world by submitting new terms to Russia, permit me to 
say to them (and I hope I shall have the opportunity of 
saying it to Lloyd George personally, at Genoa): "You will 
not surprise anyone by this, gentlemen. You are businessmen 
and you know your job well. We are only just learning to 
trade and are still clumsy at it. But we have tens and hun- 
dreds of agreements and draft agreements, which show how 
we trade and what transactions we conduct or shall conduct, 
and on what terms." And we smile quietly to ourselves when 
we read in the newspapers all sorts of reports — published for 
the purpose of scaring someone — to the effect that they intend 
to put us to some sort of test. We have been threatened 
often enough, and with much more serious threats than those 
uttered by the merchant who intends to slam the door after 
making his last offer. We have been threatened with the 
guns of the Allied powers that rule almost the whole world. 
We were not frightened by those threats. Please, gentlemen, 
European diplomats, do not forget that. 



We are not in the least concerned about maintaining our 
diplomatic prestige, the good name to which the bourgeois 
states attach so much importance. Officially, we shall not 
even talk about it. But we have not forgotten it. Not one 
of our workers, not one of our peasants has forgotten, can 
forget, or ever will forget that he fought in defence of the 
workers' and peasants' government against the alliance of 
all those very powerful states that supported the interven- 
tion. We have a whole collection of treaties which those 
countries concluded with Kolchak and Denikin over a num- 
ber of years. They have been published; we are familiar with 
them and the whole world is familiar with them. What is the use 
of playing hide-and-seek and pretending that we have 
all become Simple Simons? Every peasant and every work- 
er knows that he fought against those countries, and that 
they failed to vanquish him. And if you gentlemen, who 
represent the bourgeois governments, care to amuse your- 
selves, to waste your paper (of which you have ever so much 
more than you need) and your ink, and to overload your 
cables and radio stations with messages announcing to the 
whole world: "We shall put Russia to the test", we shall 
see who comes off best. We have already been put to the test, 
not the test of words, not the test of trade, not the test of 
money, but the test of the bludgeon. And in view of the severe, 
bleeding and painful wounds inflicted on us, we have 
earned that it be said of us — not by ourselves, but by our 
enemies — "A man who has been beaten is worth two who 
have not." 

We have earned this on the field of battle. As far as trade 
is concerned, it is a pity that we Communists are not being 
thrashed enough, but I trust that this defect will be made 
good in the near future with equal success. 

I said that I hope to discuss these subjects with Lloyd 
George personally, in Genoa, and to tell him that it is no use 
trying to frighten us with such trivialities because it will 
only damage the prestige of those who try it. I hope that I 
shall not be prevented from doing this by ill health, which 
during the past few months has prevented me from taking 
a direct part in political affairs, and which totally incapaci- 
tates me for the Soviet duties which I have been appointed 
to perform. I have reason to believe that I shall be able to 



return to my duties within a few weeks. But will three or 
four of them succeed within the next few weeks in reaching an 
agreement on what they have informed the world they are 
already agreed upon? I am not sure about that. I even dare 
assert that nobody in the world is sure about it, and what is 
more, that they themselves are not sure, because when these 
victorious powers, which rule the whole world, gathered at 
Cannes after numerous preliminary conferences — the num- 
ber of these conferences is infinite, and even the European 
bourgeois press is jeering — they could not say definitely 
what they wanted. 

From the point of view of practical tasks and not that of a 
game of diplomatic leap-frog, therefore, Comrade Trotsky 
has defined the position more correctly than anybody else. 
The day after the news was received that all the arrange- 
ments for Genoa had been made, that everything had been 
settled, that complete agreement had been reached about 
Genoa and that it was only the instability of one of the bour- 
geois governments (they seem to have become suspiciously 
unstable these days) that necessitated the temporary post- 
ponement of the Conference, he issued the following order: 
"Let every man of the Red Army get a clear understanding 
of the international situation. We know definitely that there 
is a permanent group over there who want to try their hand 
at intervention. We shall be on the alert. Let every man of 
the Red Army know all about the diplomatic game and what 
is meant by force of arms, which, up to now, has decided 
all class conflicts." 

Let every man of the Red Army know all about this game 
and what is meant by force of arms, and then we shall see 
what happens. No matter how shaky capitalism may have 
become in all capitalist countries, many quite influential 
parties may still try their hand at this game. And if the 
governments are so unstable that they cannot convene a 
conference at the date set for it, who knows whose hands they 
will fall into? We know that in those countries there are 
influential parties and influential persons and business 
magnates who want war. We are perfectly well aware of 
this, and we are well informed of what really lies at the bot- 
tom of economic treaties. We have endured exceptional hard- 
ship, and we know what misfortune and suffering a fresh 



attempt at war must entail for us. But we say we shall be 
able to stand it again — just try and do it! When Comrade 
Trotsky issued his definite order instead of publishing opin- 
ions about the game of diplomatic leap-frog, he had drawn 
the conclusion that we must again explain the international 
situation to every man of the Red Army, and tell him that 
the postponement of the Genoa Conference, owing to the 
instability of the Italian Cabinet, is a danger signal of war. 
We shall see to it that every man of the Red Army under- 
stands this. It will be easy for us to do this because there is 
hardly a family, hardly a man of the Red Army in Russia 
who does not know this, not only from newspapers, circu- 
lars and orders, but from his own village, where he has seen 
cripples, and knows families that have gone through this 
war, where he sees crop failures, appalling hunger and ruin, 
hellish poverty, and knows what causes them — even though 
he does not read the Paris publications of the Mensheviks 
and Socialist-Revolutionaries which attribute all this to 
the malignant nature of the Bolsheviks. There can scarcely 
be a desire so deeply ingrained in him as the desire to repel 
(to say the least) those who forced upon us the war waged 
by Kolchak and Denikin and supported it. There is no need 
for us to appoint new agitation and propaganda commissions 
for this purpose. 

In respect of the Genoa Conference we must distinguish 
exactly between its real nature and the newspaper canards 
circulated by the bourgeoisie. They think that these canards 
are frightful bombs, but they do not frighten us, because we 
have seen so many of them- and sometimes they do not de- 
serve answering even with a smile. Every attempt to impose 
terms upon us as if we were vanquished is so very foolish 
that it is not worthy of a reply. We are establishing relations 
as merchants; we know what you owe us and what we owe you; 
and we know what your legitimate profit and even your 
super-profit may be. We get many proposals, and the number 
of agreements we are concluding is growing and will 
continue to grow, no matter how three or four of the victor 
powers combine. You will lose by this postponement of the 
Conference, because you will show your own people that you 
do not know what you want, and that the disease you are 
suffering from is lack of will power, and a failure to under- 



stand economics and politics, which we have appraised more 
profoundly than you. It will soon be ten years since we made 
this appraisal, and all the ruin and disorder that has occurred 
since then is still not understood by the bourgeois countries. 

We already see clearly the position that has taken shape 
in our country, and we can say with full conviction that we 
can now stop the retreat we began, we are already stopping it. 
Enough! We clearly realise that the New Economic Policy 
is a retreat, and we do not conceal it. We grasped more than we 
could hold, but such is the logic of the struggle. Those of you 
who remember what the position was in October 1917, or 
those of you who were politically immature at the time and 
have learned since what the position was in 1917, know what 
a large number of compromise proposals we Bolsheviks made 
to the bourgeoisie at that time. "Gentlemen, your affairs 
are in a bad way," we said, "we shall be in power, however, 
and will remain in power. Wouldn't you like to consider 
how you could settle things without a rumpus, as the 
muzhik would say?" We know that there was not only a 
rumpus, but attempts at rebellion, which the Mensheviks and 
Socialist-Revolutionaries instigated and supported. For- 
merly they said: "We are prepared to surrender power to the 
Soviets right now." A few days ago I read an article by 
Kerensky, who opposed Chernov in a Paris journal (there's 
lots of that stuff there). "Did we cling to power?" asked 
Kerensky. "Even at the time of the Democratic Conference 60 
I said that if anyone could be found to form a homogeneous 
government, power would be transferred to the new govern- 
ment without the slightest upheaval." 

We have never refused to take power alone. We said that 
as early as June 1917, 61 and took power at the Congress of 
Soviets in October 1917. We Bolsheviks obtained a majority 
at that Congress of Soviets. Then Kerensky appealed to the 
officer cadets, 62 rushed off to Krasnov and wanted to mus- 
ter an army to march on Petrograd. We knocked them about 
a bit, and now they say in an offended tone, "You are inso- 
lent, you are usurpers, butchers!" And we say in reply, "You 
have only yourselves to blame, friends! Do not imagine 
that the Russian peasants and workers have forgotten what 
you did. In October you challenged us to the most desperate 
fight, and we retaliated with terror and redoubled terror; 



and we shall adopt terror again if necessary , if you try it 
again." Not a single worker, not a single peasant doubts the 
need for it. No one doubts it but whimpering intellectuals. 

Under conditions of unheard-of economic hardship we 
were compelled to wage war against an enemy whose forces 
were a hundred times superior to ours. It goes without say- 
ing that under these circumstances we were obliged to go 
to greater lengths in our urgent communist measures than 
would otherwise have been the case; we were forced to do it. 
Our enemies thought they could finish us off; they thought 
they could bring us to our knees, not in words, but in deeds. 
They said they would not make any concessions. We 
replied that if they thought we dared not resort to the most 
extreme communist measures they were mistaken. And we 
did dare; we did it, and we won. Now we say we cannot hold 
these positions, we are retreating, because we have won enough 
to be able to hold essential positions. All the whiteguards 
headed by the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries 
wax jubilant and say, "Aha, you are retreating!" We say 
"Rejoice, since it puts you in good humour." We stand 
to gain if our enemy pats himself on the back instead of 
engaging in practical work. Rejoice, you are only putting us in 
a more favourable position by deceiving yourselves with 
illusions. We have captured vast positions, and had we not 
captured them in the period from 1917 to 1921 we would have 
had no room to retreat, geographically, economically or 
politically. We are maintaining power in alliance with the 
peasantry, and if you reject terms offered you before a war, 
you get worse terms after the war. This is definitely recorded 
in the diplomatic, economic and political history of the 
period 1917-21, so that we are not boasting at all. It is a plain 
statement of fact, a simple reminder. Had the capitalist gen- 
tlemen accepted the proposals we made to them in October 
1917, they would have had five times as much as they have 
now. You fought for three years. What have you gained by 
it? Do you want to fight again? We know perfectly well that 
by no means all of you want to fight. On the other hand 
we know that in view of the desperate famine and the pres- 
ent state of industry, we cannot hold all the positions we 
won in the period 1917-21. We have surrendered a number 
of them. But we can now say that, so far as making con- 



cessions to the capitalists is concerned, the retreat is at an 
end. We have weighed up our own forces and those of the 
capitalists. We have done some reconnoitring by way of 
concluding agreements with Russian and foreign capitalists, 
and we say — and I hope, I am sure, that the Party Congress 
will say the same, officially, on behalf of the ruling party of 
Russia — "We can now stop our economic retreat. Enough! 
We shall not retreat any further; we shall set about deploy- 
ing and regrouping our forces properly." 

When I say that we are halting our economic retreat I 
do not want to suggest that I have for a moment forgotten 
the hellishly difficult conditions in which we find ourselves; 
nor do I want to soothe or console you on that score. 
The question of the limits of the retreat, and of whether we 
are stopping the retreat or not, is not one of the difficul- 
ties that confront us. We are aware of these difficulties. We 
know what famine in a peasant country like Russia means. 
We know that we have not yet succeeded in alleviating the 
sufferings caused by the famine. We know what a financial 
crisis means in a country which is compelled to trade and 
where paper currency has been issued on a scale such as the 
world has never seen before. We are well aware of these dif- 
ficulties and fully appreciate their immensity. I am not 
afraid to say that they are tremendous. This does not frighten 
us in the least. On the contrary, we gain strength from 
saying openly to the workers and peasants that these are the 
difficulties that confront us; this is the danger with 
which the Western powers threaten us. Let us work and 
weigh up our tasks soberly. The fact that we are stopping 
our retreat does not mean that we are not aware of the dan- 
gers. We look them straight in the face. "This," we say, "is 
where the main danger lies; we must alleviate the sufferings 
caused by the famine. We have not done so yet. We have not 
yet overcome the financial crisis." Hence, you must not 
interpret what I say about halting the retreat to mean that we 
think that we have already laid the foundation (of our new 
economy) and that we can now calmly advance. No, the foun- 
dation has not yet been laid. We still cannot look calmly to 
the future. We are surrounded by threats of war, about 
which I have said enough, and by still greater internal 
dangers, economic dangers within the country; these are the 



frightful state of ruin of the peasantry, the famine, and our 
disrupted finances. These dangers are very great. They call for 
tremendous effort on our part. But if we are forced to go to 
war, we shall be able to fight. It will not be easy for them to 
fight, either. It was easy for them to start war in 1918 and as 
easy to continue it in 1919. But much water, and blood, and 
many other things have flowed under the bridge since 
then. The Western workers and peasants have changed since 
1919. And it is impossible to fool them by saying, "We are 
fighting the Germans; the Bolsheviks are nothing more than 
German agents." We do not become panic-stricken over our 
economic situation. Today we have scores of agreements 
concluded with Russian and foreign capitalists. We know 
what difficulties lay and still lie before us. We know why 
the Russian capitalists consented to conclude these agree- 
ments. We know on what terms these agreements were con- 
cluded. The majority of the capitalists concluded the agree- 
ments as practical men, as merchants. We, too, are acting 
as merchants. But every merchant takes some account of 
politics. If he is a merchant from a not altogether barbarous 
country, he will not enter into transactions with a govern- 
ment unless it shows considerable signs of stability, unless 
it is very reliable. The merchant who did such a thing would 
not be a merchant, but a fool. Most merchants are not fools, 
for the logic of the commercial struggle eliminates the fools. 
If, formerly, the test was, "Denikin has beaten you, now 
show that you can beat Denikin", today the test is, "If the 
merchant has beaten you, prove that you can compel him to 
do business". We have proved it. We have already concluded 
a number of agreements with very big capitalist firms, both 
Russian and West-European. We know what they are after, 
they know what we are after. 

Today the object of our activities has changed somewhat. 
That is exactly what I want to say a few words about, to 
supplement my already somewhat lengthy report. 

In view of the fact that the Genoa situation is precarious 
and the end of the wavering is not in sight, and because we 
have made so many concessions in our domestic policy, we 
must now say: "Enough! No more concessions!" The capital- 
ist gentlemen think that they can dally, and the longer they 
dally the more concessions they will get, but we must say, 



"Enough! Tomorrow you will get nothing." If they have not 
learned anything from the history of Soviet power and its 
victories, they can do as they please. For our part we have 
done all we could and have informed the whole world about 
it. I hope the Congress will confirm the fact that we shall not 
retreat any further. The retreat has come to an end, and, 
in consequence of that, the nature of our work is 

It must be stated that considerable nervousness, almost 
morbidness, is still observed in our ranks when this question 
is discussed. All sorts of plans are drawn up, and all sorts 
of decisions are adopted. In this connection I want to men- 
tion the following. Yesterday I happened to read in Izvestia 
a political poem by Mayakovsky. 63 I am not an admirer of 
his poetical talent, although I admit that I am not a com- 
petent judge. But I have not for a long time read anything 
on politics and administration with so much pleasure as I 
read this. In his poem he derides this meeting habit, and 
taunts the Communists with incessantly sitting at meetings. 
I am not sure about the poetry; but as for the politics, I vouch 
for their absolute correctness. We are indeed in the position, 
and it must be said that it is a very absurd position, of 
people sitting endlessly at meetings, setting up commissions 
and drawing up plans without end. There was a character who 
typified Russian life — Oblomov. He was always lolling 
on his bed and mentally drawing up schemes. That was a 
long time ago. Russia has experienced three revolutions, but 
the Oblomovs have survived, for there were Oblomovs not 
only among the landowners but also among the peasants; 
not only among the peasants, but among the intellectuals 
too; and not only among the intellectuals, but also among 
the workers and Communists. It is enough to watch us at 
our meetings, at our work on commissions, to be able to say 
that old Oblomov still lives; and it will be necessary to give 
him a good washing and cleaning, a good rubbing and scour- 
ing to make a man of him. In this respect we must have no illu- 
sions about our position. We have not imitated any of those 
who write the word "revolution" with a capital R, as the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries do. But we can quote the words of 
Marx that many foolish things are done during a revolution, 
perhaps more than at any other time. 64 We revolutionaries 



must learn to regard these foolish acts dispassionately and 

In this revolution we have done so much that is ineradi- 
cable, that we have finally won; the whole world knows about 
it and we have no reason whatever to be embarrassed or nerv- 
ous. On the basis of our reconnaissance we are now checking 
up on what we have done. This check is very important and 
should serve as the starting point for our further progress. 
And since we have to hold out in the struggle against the 
capitalists, we must pursue our new line with determination. 
We must build up our whole organisation in such a way that 
our commercial enterprises are not headed by people who lack 
experience in that field. Very often we find a Communist 
at the head of a government office who is admittedly a con- 
scientious comrade, tried and tested in the struggle for com- 
munism, who suffered imprisonment for the cause, and for 
that reason has been put at the head of a state trust. But he does 
not know how to trade. He has all the undoubted quali- 
ties of a Communist, but the merchant cheats him, and is 
quite right in doing so; it is a mistake to put a very worthy, 
excellent Communist, whose loyalty no one but a madman 
would doubt, in a place that should be occupied by a shrewd, 
conscientious salesman who could cope with his work ever so 
much better than the most devoted Communist. This is just 
where our Oblomovism makes itself felt. 

We have given Communists, with all their splendid quali- 
ties, practical executive jobs for which they are totally 
unfitted. How many Communists are there in government 
offices? We have huge quantities of material, bulky works, 
that would cause the heart of the most methodical German 
scientist to rejoice, we have mountains of paper, and it would 
take Istpart 65 fifty times fifty years to go through it all; but if 
you tried to find anything practical in a state trust, you 
would fail; and you would never know who was responsible 
for what. The practical fulfilment of decrees — of which we 
have more than enough, and which we bake as fast as Maya- 
kovsky describes — is never checked. Are the orders of the 
responsible Communist officials carried out? Can they get this 
done? No. They cannot, and that is why we are changing 
our domestic policy to the very core. Of what value are our 
meetings and commissions? Very often they are just make- 



believe. After we began to purge our Party and said to our- 
selves: "Out with the self-seekers who have crept into the 
Party, out with the thieves!" things improved . We have 
expelled about a hundred thousand, that is splendid, but it 
is only a beginning. We shall discuss this question thorough- 
ly at the Party Congress. And then, I think, the tens of thou- 
sands who now only organise commissions, and do not, and 
cannot, carry on practical work, will meet with the same 
fate. And after we have completed the purge in this way, our 
Party will get down to real work and learn to understand 
it as it learnt to understand war work. This, of course, is 
not a matter of several months, or even a year. We must 
display rock-like firmness in this question. We are not afraid 
to say that the nature of our work has changed. Our worst 
internal enemy is the bureaucrat — the Communist who 
occupies a responsible (or not responsible) Soviet post and 
enjoys universal respect as a conscientious man. As the Russian 
saying goes, "Although he never touches a drop, he sings 
false". He is very conscientious, but he has not learnt to com- 
bat red tape, he is unable to combat it, he condones it. We 
must rid ourselves of this enemy, and with the aid of all 
class-conscious workers and peasants we shall get at him . The 
whole mass of non-Party workers and peasants will follow the 
lead of the vanguard of the Communist Party in the fight 
against this enemy and this inefficiency and Oblomovism. 
There must be no hesitation whatever in this matter. 

In conclusion, I will sum up briefly. The Genoa game 
the game of leap-frog that is going on around it, will not 
compel us to waver in the least. They cannot catch us now. 
We shall go to the merchants and agree to do business, contin- 
uing our policy of concessions; but the limits of these conces- 
sions are already defined. What we have given the merchants 
in our agreements up to now has been a step backward in 
our legislation; but we shall not retreat any further. 

In connection with this, our main tasks in our internal 
and, particularly, our economic policy are undergoing 
a change. We do not need new decrees, new institutions 
or new methods of struggle. What we need is the testing 
of the fitness of our officials; we need executive control. 
The next purge will affect the Communists who imagine 
that they are administrators. All those who run all these 



commissions and conferences and talk but do no practical 
work would do better to go into the field of propaganda, 
agitation and other useful work of that kind. All sorts 
of extraordinary and intricate things are invented on the 
plea that the New Economic Policy requires something 
new, but they do not do the work they are instructed to 
do. They make no effort to look after the kopeks entrusted 
to them; they make no effort to make one kopek grow into 
two; but they draw up plans affecting billions and even 
trillions of Soviet rubles. It is this evil that we shall com- 
bat. To test men and verify what has actually been done — 
this, this again, this alone is now the main feature of all 
our activities, of our whole policy. This is not a matter 
of a few months or of a year, but of several years. We must 
say officially, on behalf of the Party, what the main fea- 
ture of our activities is at the present time, and reorganise 
our ranks accordingly. If we do that we shall be as victor- 
ious in this new field as we have been up to now in all the 
fields of activity engaged in by Bolshevik, proletarian 
power, supported by the peasant masses. (Applause.) 

Pravda No. 54, 
March 8, 1922 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 



Comrade Trotsky has already said everything necessary, 
and said it very well, about the general purposes of Pod 
Znamenem Marksizma 66 in issue No. 1-2 of that journal. 
I should like to deal with certain questions that more 
closely define the content and programme of the work 
which its editors have set forth in the introductory state- 
ment in this issue. 

This statement says that not all those gathered round 
the journal Pod Znamenem Marksizma are Communists 
but that they are all consistent materialists. I think that 
this alliance of Communists and non-Communists is abso- 
lutely essential and correctly defines the purposes of the 
journal. One of the biggest and most dangerous mistakes 
made by Communists (as generally by revolutionaries 
who have successfully accomplished the beginning of a 
great revolution) is the idea that a revolution can be made 
by revolutionaries alone. On the contrary, to be successful, 
all serious revolutionary work requires that the idea that 
revolutionaries are capable of playing the part only of 
the vanguard of the truly virile and advanced class must be 
understood and translated into action. A vanguard performs 
its task as vanguard only when it is able to avoid being 
isolated from the mass of the people it leads and is able 
really to lead the whole mass forward. Without an alliance 
with non-Communists in the most diverse spheres of activ- 
ity there can be no question of any successful communist 

This also applies to the defence of materialism and 
Marxism, which has been undertaken by Pod Znamenem 
Marksizma. Fortunately, the main trends of advanced 



social thinking in Russia have a solid materialist tradi- 
tion. Apart from G. V. Plekhanov, it will be enough to 
mention Chernyshevsky, 67 from whom the modern Narod- 
niks (the Popular Socialists, 68 Socialist-Revolutionaries, etc.) 
have frequently retreated in quest of fashionable reac- 
tionary philosophical doctrines, captivated by the tinsel 
of the so-called last word in European science, and unable 
to discern beneath this tinsel some variety of servility to 
the bourgeoisie, to bourgeois prejudice and bourgeois 

At any rate, in Russia we still have — and shall undoubt- 
edly have for a fairly long time to come — materialists 
from the non-communist camp, and it is our absolute duty 
to enlist all adherents of consistent and militant mate- 
rialism in the joint work of combating philosophical reac- 
tion and the philosophical prejudices of so-called educated 
society. Dietzgen senior 69 — not to be confused with his 
writer son, who was as pretentious as he was unsuccessful — 
correctly, aptly and clearly expressed the fundamental 
Marxist view of the philosophical trends which prevail 
in bourgeois countries and enjoy the regard of their 
scientists and publicists, when he said that in effect the 
professors of philosophy in modern society are in the major- 
ity of cases nothing but "graduated flunkeys of cleri- 

Our Russian intellectuals, who, like their brethren in 
all other countries, are fond of thinking themselves advanced, 
are very much averse to shifting the question to the 
level of the opinion expressed in Dietzgen's words. But 
they are averse to it because they cannot look the truth 
in the face. One has only to give a little thought to the 
governmental and also the general economic, social and 
every other kind of dependence of modern educated people 
on the ruling bourgeoisie to realise that Dietzgen's scathing 
description was absolutely true. One has only to recall 
the vast majority of the fashionable philosophical trends 
that arise so frequently in European countries, beginning 
for example with those connected with the discovery of 
radium and ending with those which are now seeking to 
clutch at the skirts of Einstein, to gain an idea of the con- 
nection between the class interests and the class position 



of the bourgeoisie and its support of all forms of religion 
on the one hand, and the ideological content of the fashion- 
able philosophical trends on the other. 

It will be seen from the above that a journal that sets 
out to be a militant materialist organ must be primarily 
a militant organ, in the sense of unflinchingly exposing 
and indicting all modern "graduated flunkeys of clerical- 
ism", irrespective of whether they act as representatives 
of official science or as free lances calling themselves 
"democratic Left or ideologically socialist" publicists. 

In the second place, such a journal must be a militant 
atheist organ. We have departments, or at least state 
institutions, which are in charge of this work. But the work 
is being carried on with extreme apathy and very unsatis- 
factorily, and is apparently suffering from the general 
conditions of our truly Russian (even though Soviet) 
bureaucratic ways. It is therefore highly essential that in 
addition to the work of these state institutions, and in 
order to improve and infuse life into that work, a journal 
which sets out to propagandise militant materialism must 
carry on untiring atheist propaganda and an untiring 
atheist fight. The literature on the subject in all languages 
should be carefully followed and everything at all valuable 
in this sphere should be translated, or at least reviewed. 

Engels long ago advised the contemporary leaders of 
the proletariat to translate the militant atheist litera- 
ture of the late eighteenth century 70 for mass distribution 
among the people. We have not done this up to the present, 
to our shame be it said (this is one of the numerous proofs 
that it is much easier to seize power in a revolutionary 
epoch than to know how to use this power properly). Our 
apathy, inactivity and incompetence are sometimes excused 
on all sorts of "lofty" grounds, as, for example, that the 
old atheist literature of the eighteenth century is anti- 
quated, unscientific, naive, etc. There is nothing worse than 
such pseudo-scientific sophistry, which serves as a screen 
either for pedantry or for a complete misunderstanding 
of Marxism. There is, of course, much that is unscientific 
and naive in the atheist writings of the eighteenth- 
century revolutionaries. But nobody prevents the publishers 
of these writings from abridging them and providing 



them with brief postscripts pointing out the progress 
made by mankind in the scientific criticism of religions 
since the end of the eighteenth century, mentioning the 
latest writings on the subject, and so forth. It would be 
the biggest and most grievous mistake a Marxist could 
make to think that the millions of the people (especially 
the peasants and artisans), who have been condemned by 
all modern society to darkness, ignorance and superstition, 
can extricate themselves from this darkness only along 
the straight line of a purely Marxist education. These 
masses should be supplied with the most varied atheist 
propaganda material, they should be made familiar with 
facts from the most diverse spheres of life, they should be 
approached in every possible way, so as to interest 
them, rouse them from their religious torpor, stir them 
from the most varied angles and by the most varied 
methods, and so forth. 

The keen, vivacious and talented writings of the old 
eighteenth-century atheists wittily and openly attacked 
the prevailing clericalism and will very often prove a 
thousand times more suitable for arousing people from 
their religious torpor than the dull and dry paraphrases of 
Marxism, almost completely unillustrated by skilfully 
selected facts, which predominate in our literature and 
which (it is no use hiding the fact) frequently distort 
Marxism. We have translations of all the major works of 
Marx and Engels. There are absolutely no grounds for 
fearing that the old atheism and old materialism will 
remain unsupplemented by the corrections introduced by 
Marx and Engels. The most important thing — and it is 
this that is most frequently overlooked by those of our 
Communists who are supposedly Marxists, but who in 
fact mutilate Marxism — is to know how to awaken in the 
still undeveloped masses an intelligent attitude towards 
religious questions and an intelligent criticism of religions. 

On the other hand, take a glance at modern scientific 
critics of religion. These educated bourgeois writers almost 
invariably "supplement" their own refutations of relig- 
ious superstitions with arguments which immediately 
expose them as ideological slaves of the bourgeoisie, as 
"graduated flunkeys of clericalism". 



Two examples. Professor R. Y. Wipper published in 
1918 a little book entitled Vozniknovenie Khristianstva 
(The Origin of Christianity — Pharos Publishing House, 
Moscow). In his account of the principal results of modern 
science, the author not only refrains from combating the 
superstitions and deception which are the weapons of the 
church as a political organisation, not only evades these 
questions, but makes the simply ridiculous and most reac- 
tionary claim that he is above both "extremes" — the ideal- 
ist and the materialist. This is toadying to the ruling 
bourgeoisie, which all over the world devotes to the support 
of religion hundreds of millions of rubles from the profits 
squeezed out of the working people. 

The well-known German scientist, Arthur Drews, while 
refuting religious superstitions and fables in his book, 
Die Christusmythe (The Christ Myth), and while showing 
that Christ never existed, at the end of the book declares in 
favour of religion, albeit a renovated, purified and more 
subtle religion, one that would be capable of withstanding 
"the daily growing naturalist torrent" (fourth German 
edition, 1910, p. 238). Here we have an outspoken and 
deliberate reactionary, who is openly helping the exploit- 
ers to replace the old, decayed religious superstitions by 
new, more odious and vile superstitions. 

This does not mean that Drews should not be translated. 
It means that while in a certain measure effecting an alliance 
with the progressive section of the bourgeoisie, Commu- 
nists and all consistent materialists should unflinchingly 
expose that section when it is guilty of reaction. It means 
that to shun an alliance with the representatives of the 
bourgeoisie of the eighteenth century, i.e., the period 
when it was revolutionary, would be to betray Marxism 
and materialism; for an "alliance" with the Drewses, in 
one form or another and in one degree or another, is essen- 
tial for our struggle against the predominating religious 

Pod Znamenem Marksizma, which sets out to be an organ 
of militant materialism, should devote much of its space 
to atheist propaganda, to reviews of the literature on the 
subject and to correcting the immense shortcomings of 
our governmental work in this field. It is particularly 



important to utilise books and pamphlets which contain 
many concrete facts and comparisons showing how the class 
interests and class organisations of the modern bourgeoisie 
are connected with the organisations of religious insti- 
tutions and religious propaganda. 

All material relating to the United States of America, 
where the official, state connection between religion and 
capital is less manifest, is extremely important. But, on 
the other hand, it becomes all the clearer to us that so- 
called modern democracy (which the Mensheviks, the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries, partly also the anarchists, etc., 
so unreasonably worship) is nothing but the freedom to 
preach whatever is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie, to 
preach, namely, the most reactionary ideas, religion, 
obscurantism, defence of the exploiters, etc. 

One would like to hope that a journal which sets out to 
be a militant materialist organ will provide our reading 
public with reviews of atheist literature, showing for 
which circle of readers any particular writing might be 
suitable and in what respect, and mentioning what liter- 
ature has been published in our country (only decent 
translations should be given notice, and they are not so 
many), and what is still to be published. 

In addition to the alliance with consistent materialists 
who do not belong to the Communist Party, of no less and 
perhaps even of more importance for the work which mili- 
tant materialism should perform is an alliance with those 
modern natural scientists who incline towards materialism 
and are not afraid to defend and preach it as against the 
modish philosophical wanderings into idealism and scep- 
ticism which are prevalent in so-called educated society. 

The article by A. Timiryazev on Einstein's theory of 
relativity published in Pod Znamenem Marksizma No. 1-2 
permits us to hope that the journal will succeed in effect- 
ing this second alliance too. Greater attention should 
be paid to it. It should be remembered that the sharp 
upheaval which modern natural science is undergoing 
very often gives rise to reactionary philosophical schools 
and minor schools, trends and minor trends. Unless, there- 



fore, the problems raised by the recent revolution in natural 
science are followed, and unless natural scientists are 
enlisted in the work of a philosophical journal, militant 
materialism can be neither militant nor materialism. 
Timiryazev was obliged to observe in the first issue of 
the journal that the theory of Einstein, who, according 
to Timiryazev, is himself not making any active attack 
on the foundations of materialism, has already been seized 
upon by a vast number of bourgeois intellectuals of all 
countries; it should be noted that this applies not only to 
Einstein, but to a number, if not to the majority, of the 
great reformers of natural science since the end of the 
nineteenth century. 

For our attitude towards this phenomenon to be a polit- 
ically conscious one, it must be realised that no natural 
science and no materialism can hold its own in the struggle 
against the onslaught of bourgeois ideas and the restora- 
tion of the bourgeois world outlook unless it stands on 
solid philosophical ground. In order to hold his own in this 
struggle and carry it to a victorious finish, the natural 
scientist must be a modern materialist, a conscious adherent 
of the materialism represented by Marx, i.e., he must 
be a dialectical materialist. In order to attain this aim, 
the contributors to Pod Znamenem Marksizma must 
arrange for the systematic study of Hegelian dialectics 
from a materialist standpoint, i.e., the dialectics which 
Marx applied practically in his Capital and in his histor- 
ical and political works, and applied so successfully that 
now every day of the awakening to life and struggle of 
new classes in the East (Japan, India, and China) — i.e., 
the hundreds of millions of human beings who form the 
greater part of the world population and whose historical 
passivity and historical torpor have hitherto conditioned 
the stagnation and decay of many advanced European 
countries — every day of the awakening to life of new peoples 
and new classes serves as a fresh confirmation of Marxism. 

Of course, this study, this interpretation, this propa- 
ganda of Hegelian dialectics is extremely difficult, and the 
first experiments in this direction will undoubtedly be 
accompanied by errors. But only he who never does any- 
thing never makes mistakes. Taking as our basis Marx's 



method of applying materialistically conceived Hegelian 
dialectics, we can and should elaborate this dialectics 
from all aspects, print in the journal excerpts from Hegel's 
principal works, interpret them materialistically and 
comment on them with the help of examples of the way 
Marx applied dialectics, as well as of examples of dialec- 
tics in the sphere of economic and political relations, 
which recent history, especially modern imperialist war 
and revolution, provides in unusual abundance. In my 
opinion, the editors and contributors of Pod Znamenem 
Marksizma should be a kind of "Society of Materialist 
Friends of Hegelian Dialectics". Modern natural scien- 
tists (if they know how to seek, and if we learn to help 
them) will find in the Hegelian dialectics, materialisti- 
cally interpreted, a series of answers to the philosophical 
problems which are being raised by the revolution in natural 
science and which make the intellectual admirers of bour- 
geois fashion "stumble" into reaction. 

Unless it sets itself such a task and systematically ful- 
fils it, materialism cannot be militant materialism. It will 
be not so much the fighter as the fought, 71 to use an expres- 
sion of Shchedrin's. Without this, eminent natural scien- 
tists will as often as hitherto be helpless in making their 
philosophical deductions and generalisations. For natural 
science is progressing so fast and is undergoing such a 
profound revolutionary upheaval in all spheres that it 
cannot possibly dispense with philosophical deduc- 

In conclusion, I will cite an example which has nothing 
to do with philosophy, but does at any rate concern social 
questions, to which Pod Znamenem Marksizma also desires 
to devote attention. 

It is an example of the way in which modern pseudo- 
science actually serves as a vehicle for the grossest and 
most infamous reactionary views. 

I was recently sent a copy of Ekonomist No. 1 (1922), 
published by the Eleventh Department of the Russian 
Technical Society. 72 The young Communist who sent me 
this journal (he probably had no time to read it) rashly 
expressed considerable agreement with it. In reality the 
journal is — I do not know to what extent deliberately — 



an organ of the modern feudalists, disguised of course 
under a cloak of science, democracy and so forth. 

A certain Mr. P. A. Sorokin publishes in this journal 
an extensive, so-called "sociological", inquiry on "The 
Influence of the War". This learned article abounds in 
learned references to the "sociological" works of the author 
and his numerous teachers and colleagues abroad. Here is 
an example of his learning. 

On page 83, I read: 

"For every 10,000 marriages in Petrograd there are now 92.2 
divorces — a fantastic figure. Of every 100 annulled marriages, 51.1 
had lasted less than one year, 11 per cent less than one month, 22 per 
cent less than two months, 41 per cent less than three to six months 
and only 26 per cent over six months. These figures show that modern 
legal marriage is a form which conceals what is in effect extra-marital 
sexual intercourse, enabling lovers of 'strawberries' to satisfy their 
appetites in a 'legal' way" (Ekonomist No. 1, p. 83). 

Both this gentleman and the Russian Technical Society, 
which publishes this journal and gives space to this kind 
of talk, no doubt regard themselves as adherents of democ- 
racy and would consider it a great insult to be called 
what they are in fact, namely, feudalists, reactionaries, 
"graduated flunkeys of clericalism". 

Even the slightest acquaintance with the legislation of 
bourgeois countries on marriage, divorce and illegitimate 
children, and with the actual state of affairs in this field, 
is enough to show anyone interested in the subject that 
modern bourgeois democracy, even in all the most demo- 
cratic bourgeois republics, exhibits a truly feudal attitude 
in this respect towards women and towards children born 
out of wedlock. 

This, of course, does not prevent the Mensheviks, the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries, a part of the anarchists and 
all the corresponding parties in the West from shouting 
about democracy and how it is being violated by the Bol- 
sheviks. But as a matter of fact the Bolshevik revolution 
is the only consistently democratic revolution in respect 
to such questions as marriage, divorce and the position of 
children born out of wedlock. And this is a question which 
most directly affects the interests of more than half the 
population of any country. Although a large number of 



bourgeois revolutions preceded it and called themselves 
democratic, the Bolshevik revolution was the first and 
only revolution to wage a resolute struggle in this respect 
both against reaction and feudalism and against the usual 
hypocrisy of the ruling and propertied classes. 

If 92 divorces for every 10,000 marriages seem to Mr. Soro- 
kin a fantastic figure, one can only suppose that either the 
author lived and was brought up in a monastery so entirely 
walled off from life that hardly anyone will believe such 
a monastery ever existed, or that he is distorting the truth 
in the interest of reaction and the bourgeoisie. Anybody 
in the least acquainted with social conditions in bourgeois 
countries knows that the real number of actual divorces 
(of course, not sanctioned by church and law) is every- 
where immeasurably greater. The only difference between 
Russia and other countries in this respect is that our laws 
do not sanctify hypocrisy and the debasement of the woman 
and her child, but openly and in the name of the govern- 
ment declare systematic war on all hypocrisy and all 

The Marxist journal will have to wage war also on these 
modern "educated" feudalists. Not a few of them, very 
likely, are in receipt of government money and are employed 
by our government to educate our youth, although they are 
no more fitted for this than notorious perverts are fitted 
for the post of superintendents of educational establish- 
ments for the young. 

The working class of Russia proved able to win power; 
but it has not yet learned to utilise it, for otherwise it 
would have long ago very politely dispatched such teachers 
and members of learned societies to countries with a bour- 
geois "democracy". That is the proper place for such feudal- 

But it will learn, given the will to learn. 

March 12, 1922 

Pod Znamenem Marksizma No. 3, 
March 1922 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according to 
the Pod Znamenem 
Marksizma text 




1. The heading will not do. These are not "fundamental 
principles", which have already been laid down by our 
Programme, but theses on "The Organisation of the Russian 
Communist Party's Work in the Rural Districts Under 
Present Conditions". 

I propose that the author be instructed to shorten and 
partly alter the theses in conformity with this new subject. 
In particular, he should shorten the recapitulation of 
general principles (these should be given in a leaflet 
explaining and commenting on the decision to be adopted by 
the Congress) and enlarge in greater detail on the practical 
and, particularly, the organisational conclusions. 

2. In the heading of §1: "social relations" instead of the 

(The typing is careless: "obyedineniya" instead of 

"obedneniya" , 

"besploshchadnykh" instead 
of "bezloshadnykh"....)* 

3. In §1, particularly, many of the passages are far 
too long; much of this should be transferred to a pamphlet. 

4. Statements about "co-operation" in §1, and in other 
places, are bare and abstract. Too much has been said 
about this, and we are sick of it. It must be formulated 
quite differently, without repeating the bare slogan: "Co- 
operate!" but showing concretely what practical experience 

*i.e., "amalgamation" instead of "impoverishment"; "plot- 
less" instead of horseless. — Ed. 



has already been acquired in the field of co-operation, and 
how it can be promoted. If the author lacks this material, 
then the decision of the Congress must contain a demand 
that it be collected and analysed not academically, but 
practically. (All Comrade Preobrazhensky's theses are ultra- 
and super-academic; they smack of the intelligentsia, the 
study circle and the litterateur, and not of practical state 
and economic activity.) 

5. "With the exception of collective farms" we have 
no development, but a "tendency to decline" (among the 
poor peasants). This will not do. In the first place, there is 
no proof that the "collectives" are, in general, better. 
We must not irritate the peasants with false communist 
self-adulation. In the second place, not "tendency to decline" 
but retarded development everywhere; decline — often. 

6. The "good husbandmen" are "carried away" by "the 
task of improving farming methods". This is a clumsy 
expression and, unfortunately, is also a piece of "commu- 
nist self-adulation". It should read: "are beginning, 
although slowly" (§1). 

7. "Peasant (?) equality is dissolving" (?). You cannot 
say a thing like that. 

The end of §1 is no good at all; it is an article, not a 
thesis; an assumption unsupported by facts. 

8. The beginning of §11 is far too abstruse. Properly 
speaking, it has no business to be in these theses. It is 
quite out of context. 

9. The second sentence in §11 (levelled against the 
"methods of the Poor Peasants' Committees" 74 ) is pernic- 
ious and wrong, because war, for example, may compel 
us to resort to the methods of the Poor Peasants' Committees. 

This must be said quite differently; in this way, for 
example: in view of the supreme importance of reviving 
agriculture and increasing the output of farm produce, 
the proletariat's policy towards the kulaks and well-to-do 
peasantry must, at present, mainly pursue the object of 
curbing their exploiting appetites, etc. 

The whole point is: How can and should our state curb 
these appetites and protect the poor peasants? This must 
be studied, and we must compel people to study it practi- 
cally; general phrases are useless. 



10. The last words in §11 are correct, but they are 
abstruse and insufficiently enlarged upon. This must be 
explained in greater detail. 

11. In §111 the sentence starting with "The divorce- 
ment" is badly distorted. 

12. Strictly speaking, the whole of §111 teems with 
commonplaces. This is no use. To repeat them so emptily 
is harmful; it causes nausea, ennui and irritation at the 
useless chewing over of phrases. 

Instead of irritating the peasants by this foolish commu- 
nistic playing at co-operation it would be far better to take 
at least one uyezd and show by a practical analysis how 
"co-operation" can be promoted; to show how we have 
actually helped to improve farming methods, etc., how we 
ought to help, etc. 

This is not the right approach to the subject. It is a 
harmful approach. The general phrases are nauseating. 
They breed bureaucracy and encourage it. 

13. The beginning of §IV is particularly unhappy. 
It is an abstruse article and not a thesis for a con- 

Further. "Instructions in the form of decrees" is what the 
author proposes. It is radically wrong. Bureaucracy is 
throttling us precisely because we are still playing with 
"instructions in the form of decrees". The author could 
not have invented anything worse or more pernicious than 

Further. To say at a congress of the Russian Communist 
Party that "we must put into effect the decisions of the 
Ninth Congress of Soviets" is positively scandalous. To 
write theses for that! 

This whole section is bad. Commonplaces. Phrases. 
Pious wishes that everybody is sick of. It is typical of 
contemporary "communist bureaucracy". 

Instead of that it would be far better to take the practical 
experience even of one uyezd — even of one volost — and 
examine the facts not academically, but in a practical 
way and say: Learn, dear communist bureaucrats, not to 
do things like this (give concrete examples, the names of 
places and definite facts) but like that (also giving the 
concrete facts). 



As regards "co-operation", this defect in the theses 
is particularly striking and particularly harmful in §IV. 

14. In §V the "workers employed on the state farms" 
are declared to be the "cadres of the agricultural prole- 
tariat". That is wrong. It is an example of "communist 
conceit". Far more often they are not proletarians but 
"paupers", petty bourgeois, or what you will. We must 
not delude ourselves with lies. That is harmful. It is 
the main source of our bureaucracy. And it quite 
unnecessarily irritates and offends the peasants. It would 
be far wiser for the time being to keep silent about the 
"cadres of the agricultural proletariat" employed on our 
state farms. 

Further on it is quite rightly stated that it is "very 
difficult" to organise this "proletariat" ("which is of a 
very heterogeneous composition": quite right! And there- 
fore more like ... something indecent, but not "cadres"). 

Quite true! And therefore one should not say such things 
as "the staffs of the state farms must be purged of the petty 
proprietor elements", for this will only excite ridicule 
and legitimately so (it sounds like: purging the peasants' 
huts of bad air). 

Far better say nothing about it. 

15. §VI begins (at last!) to approach practical tasks. 
But this approach is so feeble and backed by so little 
practical experience that one is inevitably driven to 
the conclusion that (in place of the proposal made above, 
in §1): 

the theses are unsuitable; 

the author plus Osinsky plus Teodorovich plus 
Yakovenko should be instructed to make arrangements 
at the Congress for a conference of delegates who are 
working in the rural districts; 

the object of this conference should not be to dis- 
cuss "principles", etc., but solely to study and appraise 
practical experience of: 

how to organise co-operatives? 
how to combat the bad organisation of 
state farms? the bad organisation of co- 
operatives and collective farms? 
how to strengthen the All-Russia Trade 



Union of Land and Forestry Workers? 
(send the author to work there for a long 

The Central Committee should instruct this conference 
not to repeat generalities, but solely to study in detail 
local (uyezd, volost, village) practical experience. If there 
is not enough information about this experience (as is 
probably the case, because nobody has taken the trouble 
to collect it; but there is a lot of uncollected information), 
then it would be better for the Congress: 

(a) to elect a commission to study this practical 

(b) the commission to be subordinate to the Central 

(c) to include Comrade Preobrazhensky in this com- 

(d) to include him also in the All-Russia Trade Union of 
Land and Forestry Workers.... 

(e) to instruct the commission to collect information on 
the experience acquired, to study it and draft (after 
publishing a series of articles) 

a letter on behalf of the (new) Central Committee 
on the organisation of work in the rural districts in 
which the most concrete directions must be given on 
how to organise co-operatives, how to "curb" the 
kulaks, while not checking the growth of the produc- 
tive forces, how to run the All-Russia Trade Union 
of Land and Forestry Workers, how to strengthen it, 
etc., etc. 

The Central Committee's resolution for the Congress 
should be drafted on the following lines (approxi- 

The facts show, and the special commission of 
the Congress confirms it, that the main defect in 
the Party's work in the rural districts is the failure 
to study practical experience. This is the root of 
all evil, and the root of bureaucracy. The Congress 
instructs the Central Committee, first and foremost, 
to combat this — among other things, with the aid 
of such-and-such a commission, one (or two, or three) 



of the members of which should be sent for 
permanent work in the All-Russia Trade Union of 
Land and Forestry Workers. 
The commission should publish leaflets and pamphlets, 
and systematically study experience so as to be able to 
advise and to order how the work should and should not 
be done. 


March 16, 1922 

First published in 1925 

Published according to 
the manuscript 



To Comrade Zinoviev 
Copy to Comrade Kamenev 
to Comrade Molotov 

I have just spoken to Kamenev and we have arranged 
that late tonight you will reply to Vandervelde that you 
have delivered his telegram to the Soviet Government. 
Comrade Kursky, the People's Commissar of Justice, will 
send him a reply tomorrow on behalf of the Soviet Govern- 

I propose that the text of the reply be discussed in the 
Political Bureau and, for my part, suggest the following 

"No member of the Soviet Government in Russia has 
ever doubted that representatives of the Second Interna- 
tional always steadfastly pursued the policy likewise fol- 
lowed with some vacillation by representatives of the 
Viennese Socialist Association. 76 They were the ones who 
pursued the policy of forming a direct and indirect alliance 
with those exploiter classes that have in all countries 
persecuted and killed Communists, examples of which are 
particularly numerous and striking in the democratic 
republic of Germany. The confidence in the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries and Mensheviks that certain political 
circles in Western Europe are showing may be explained 
only by this alliance and political closeness of the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, who, in effect, sup- 
ported the invasion of Russia by Kolchak, Denikin and 



others. As a matter of fact, far from a sentence having 
been passed in the case of the Socialist-Revolutionaries 
you write about, there has not even been a trial and they 
have not yet been indicted. In any case, I consider it my 
duty to add that the Soviet Government did not turn down 
practical proposals like the proposal to exchange prisoners 
of war or to free various categories of war prisoners, when 
proposals of that kind came from Denikin's government 
during his direct invasion of Soviet Russia with the 
objective of restoring the rule of the landowners. 


People's Commissar of Justice." 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin), 
Chairman of the Council 
of People's Commissars 

Dictated by telephone 
on March 17, 1922 

Published in full for the first 
time according to the steno- 
grapher's notes (typewritten copy) 



I heartily recommend this book by Comrade Stepanov 
to all Communists. 

The author has succeeded in giving a very able exposi- 
tion of exceedingly difficult and important problems. 
He did very well in not writing a book for intellectuals 
(as is the practice among many of us who copy the worst 
manners of bourgeois writers), but for the working people, 
for the masses, for rank-and-file workers and peasants. To 
his book the author has appended a list of references for 
supplementary reading for the benefit of those who may 
find it difficult to understand some parts of it without 
further explanation, as well as for the benefit of those 
who would like to consult the principal works on this 
subject published in Russia and abroad. Special reference 
must be made to the beginning of Chapter VI, where the 
author splendidly outlines the significance of the New 
Economic Policy, and magnificently answers the "airy" 
scepticism that is displayed in some quarters about the 
possibility of electrification. This scepticism is usually 
a cloak to conceal the absence of serious thought on the 
subject (that is, if it is not a cloak to conceal whiteguard, 
Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik hostility to all 
Soviet construction, which, in fact, is sometimes the case). 

What we lack most for genuine (and not idle-bureaucrat- 
ic) popular education is precisely "school manuals" (for 
absolutely all schools) like this one. If all our Marxist 
writers sat down to write such manuals, or textbooks, on 
all social questions without exception, instead of wasting 
their efforts on newspaper and magazine political 



fireworks, which everybody is sick and tired of, we should 
not have the present disgraceful situation where, nearly 
five years after the proletariat captured political power, 
the young people in the proletariat's state schools and 
universities are taught (or rather, corrupted) by the old 
bourgeois scientists using the old bourgeois junk. 

The Eighth Congress of Soviets decreed that instruction 
on the Plan for Electrification should be compulsory in 
all educational establishments in the R.S.F.S.R. 77 without 
exception. This decree, like many others, has remained 
a dead letter because of our (Bolsheviks') lack of culture. 
Now that Comrade Stepanov's "manual for schools" has 
been published we must see to it — and we shall see to it! — 
that every uyezd library (and later every volost library) 
obtains several copies of it and that every electric power 
station in Russia (there are over 800 of them) not only has 
copies of this book but also arranges popular lectures on 
electricity, on the electrification of the R.S.F.S.R. and 
on engineering in general. We must see to it that every 
village schoolteacher reads and assimilates this manual 
(to help him in this a circle or group of engineers and 
teachers of physics should be organised in every uyezd), 
and not only reads, understands and assimilates it himself 
but is able to relate what is in it in a plain and intelligible 
way to his pupils, and to young peasants in general. 

It will require no little effort to do this. We are poor 
and uneducated. But that does not matter so long as our 
people realise that they must learn, and so long as they 
are willing to learn; so long as the workers and peasants 
clearly understand that they must now learn not to "bene- 
fit" and produce profits for the landowners and capitalists, 
but to improve their own conditions of life. 

This knowledge and desire exist. And so we definitely 
shall start learning, and shall certainly learn something. 

N. Lenin 

March 18, 1922 

Pravda No. 64, 
March 21, 1922 

Published according to the text 

tion of the R.S.F.S.R. and the 
Transitional Phase of World 
Economy, Moscow, 1922, checked 

with the manuscript 




March 21, 1922 

I have had a talk with Tsyurupa and Rykov. I hope 
the work will proceed smoothly. Incidentally, one of the 
questions concerns your Commissariat. 78 Tsyurupa's and 
Rykov's main job is (must be now) to verify fulfilment 
and select personnel. 

Assistants are needed. The Executive Secretary's staff 
at the Council of People's Commissars is much too small 
to handle the work, but it would be irrational to enlarge 
it. I expressed the idea that the Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection should be used for the purpose (of directly 
helping Tsyurupa and Rykov verify fulfilment and super- 
vise the lower echelons of the People's Commissariats). 
I should like to know if you approve of this; if you do, a 
written agreement is necessary between you and the depu- 
ties, and I should like to participate in drawing up that 

The purpose is to train (by having them tested by you 
and the two deputies on practical assignments) specially 
and unquestionably reliable people, from among the best 
workers of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection, whom 
Tsyurupa and Rykov select by agreement with you, who 
would be able quickly and unconditionally a) to secure 
fulfilment; b) to verify fulfilment; c) to check the correctness 
of the apparatus in the various People's Commissariats 
departments, the Moscow Soviet or the Petrograd Soviet, 
etc.; d) to issue instructions on how the work should be 



These people are to carry on their work in such a way 
as to personally report on the course and results of it to 
the deputies and you. They must be selected very gradually 
so that only after repeated tests they are made, so to say, 
inspectors and instructors "with special authority"; their 
number must be gradually brought up to several dozen. 
In their turn, they will (actually) enlist non-Party workers 
and peasants into the work of the Workers' and Peasants' 

If you approve of the above, send a copy of this to Tsyu- 
rupa and Rykov with your postscript. If you have objec- 
tions, write me a note (and telephone) immediately. I 
should like to speak of this in the report to the Congress. 


First published 
in Pravda No. 21, 
January 21, 1930 

Published according to 
a typewritten copy 



My congratulations to the Editorial Board of Bednota 
on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of their newspaper. 

For four years the paper has worked honourably and 
successfully to serve the interests of the working peasantry. 
The war that was forced upon the people by the capitalists 
and landowners ruined Russia to such an extent that our 
working peasantry still remain poor. The working people 
of Russia have still a lot of real hard work to do to over- 
come the starvation and poverty, the want and ruin that 
prevail as a consequence of the war. 

But the peasants and workers of Russia will get down 
to this hard work and finish it, come what may. In this 
effort the workers and peasants will be inspired by the 
knowledge that they will be working for their own benefit, 
to improve their own conditions of life, and not for the 
enrichment of landowners and capitalists. 

Soviet power has given us the alliance of workers and 
peasants. Therein lies its strength. Therein lies the guar- 
antee of our successes and of our ultimate victory. 

This alliance gave us victory over Kolchak and Denikin, 
who, with the aid of foreign troops sent here by the capi- 
talists, had tried to restore the rule of the landowners in 

Now the foreign capitalists are compelled to conclude trade 
agreements with Soviet Russia. These agreements will 
help us to get the agricultural implements, machines and 
other goods that we need for the restoration of our ruined 
peasant farms. 

We are now experiencing a most difficult spring follow- 
ing a year of famine. But we shall not be downhearted. 



Great as the hardships of the workers and peasants may be, 
we have now won the right and the opportunity to work for our 
own benefit and not for the benefit of the landowners. 
And we shall restore and improve our ruined economy. 

N. Lenin 

March 23, 1922 

Bednota No. 1183, 
March 26, 1922 

Published according to 
the manuscript 


OF THE C.C., R.C.P.(B.) 

March 23, 1922 

Comrade Molotov, 

Please will you convey to the Plenary Meeting of the 
Central Committee: 

1. My request to be excused from attending the Plenary 
Meeting on account of ill health (I shall not be able to 
manage both the sittings of the Plenary Meeting and the 
report at the Congress). 

2. If my presence at the Plenary Meeting is necessary 
to explain the following plan of the report, I shall cer- 
tainly come, and could arrive within two or three hours 
of being summoned. 

3. Plan of the Political Report of the Central Committee 
that I propose to deliver at the Congress: 

In the main repeat and in several points 
enlarge on what I said in my speech at the 
Metalworkers' Congress on March 6, 1922. Very 
briefly about Genoa. At somewhat greater 
length about NEP and the concept of "state 

Checking the (economic) retreat and the task 
of regrouping our forces. The warning given us by 
the bourgeoisie as expressed by the Smena Vekh 
writer Ustryalov, who said that NEP was not 
the "tactics" but the "evolution" of Bolshevism. 



What we lack most is culture, administrative 
ability. Illustrate this by a few examples. 
Economically and politically NEP makes it 
fully possible for us to lay the foundations of 
socialist economy. It is "only" a matter of the 
cultural forces of the proletariat and of its 

What our revolution has won irrevocably 
and what still remains undone. 

The possibility of intervention. The danger 
of a financial crisis. Take advantage of the 
"respite": concentrate on choosing men and on 
executive control. 

The gulf between the magnitude of the tasks 
already undertaken and our material and cul- 
tural poverty. 

Supplementary to the report, deal with the 
functions of the two Deputy Chairmen of the 
Council of People's Commissars and of the 
Council of Labour and Defence; refer to my 
correspondence on this subject with A. D. Tsyu- 
rupa beginning from the end of January 1922; 
to the regulations we three (plus Rykov) are 
now drafting on the reorganisation of this work 
and the need for the maximum verification of 

Relieve the Council of People's Commissars 
of minor matters; demarcate its functions more 
precisely from those of the Council of Labour 
and Defence and of the Narrow Council of Peo- 
ple's Commissars. 81 Enhance the prestige of the 
Council of People's Commissars by enlisting 
the co-operation of leading comrades, the People's 
Commissars, and not only the Deputy Commis- 

In this connection and in conformity with 
Comrade Kalinin's repeated verbal statements 
and Comrade Yenukidze's written communi- 
cation enclosed herewith, the Central Committee 
should recommend that the Congress approve 
the plan outlined above and the convocation of 



the All-Russia Central Executive Committee 
for longer sessions than usual for the purpose 
of discussing the main questions of legislation 
and for a systematic review of the work of 
the People's Commissariats and of the Council 
of People's Commissars. 

Lastly, it is necessary to delimit much more 
precisely the functions of the Party (and of its 
Central Committee) from those of the Soviet 
government; to increase the responsibility and 
independence of Soviet officials and of Soviet 
government institutions, leaving to the Party 
the general guidance of the activities of all state 
bodies, without the present, too frequent, irreg- 
ular and often petty interference. 

Draw up an appropriate resolution for 
endorsement by the Party Congress. 
4. I request that the Central Committee Plenary Meet- 
ing appoint a supplementary rapporteur on behalf of the 
C.C., for my report will be too general. Moreover, I am not 
quite certain that I shall be able to deliver it. But the 
main thing is that I am months behind the current work 
of the Political Bureau. 

With communist greetings, 


First published 
in Pravda No. 201, 
August 30, 1928 

Published according to 
the manuscript 





Comrade Molotov, 

I request that the following proposal be submitted to 
the Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee. 

I consider it extremely important to lengthen the pro- 
bation period for new members of the Party. Zinoviev 
proposes that the probation period should be six months for 
workers and twelve months for other categories. I propose 
a period of six months only for those workers who have 
actually been employed in large industrial enterprises for 
not less than ten years. A probation period of eighteen 
months should be established for all other workers, two 
years for peasants and Red Army men, and three years 
for other categories. Exceptions are to be permitted in 
special cases with the joint consent of the Central Com- 
mittee and the Central Control Commission. 

I think it will be extremely dangerous to accept the 
short periods of probation proposed by Zinoviev. There is 
no doubt that we constantly regard as workers people who 
have not had the slightest real experience of large-scale 
industry. There has been case after case of petty bourgeois, 
who have become workers by chance and only for a very 
short time, being classed as workers. All shrewd white- 
guards are very definitely banking on the fact that the 
alleged proletarian character of our Party does not in the 
least safeguard it against the small-proprietor elements 
gaining predominance in it, and very rapidly, too. In view 


of the lackadaisical and unsystematic methods that prevail 
in our ranks, short probation periods will actually mean 
that no real test will be made to ascertain whether the 
applicants are really more or less tried Communists. If 
we have 300,000 to 400,000 members in the Party, even that 
number is excessive, for literally everything goes to show 
that the level of training of the present Party membership 
is inadequate. That is why I strongly insist on longer 
probation periods, and on instructing the Organising Bureau 
to draw up and strictly apply rules that will really make 
the period of probation a serious test and not an empty 

I think that this question should be discussed at the 
Congress with special care. 


March 24, 1922 




Comrade Molotov, 

Please give this to be read to all the members of the Central 
Committee before the question of the conditions for admitting 
new members to the Party is brought up at the Congress. 

Having read the decision of the Plenary Meeting of 
March 25 on the question of the probation periods for new 
Party members, I should like to challenge this decision at 
the Congress. I am afraid, however, that I shall not be 
able to speak at the Congress, and so I request that my 
opinion be read. 

There is no doubt that judged by the bulk of its present 
membership our Party is not proletarian enough. I do not 
think anybody can challenge this, and a mere glance at the 
statistics will bear it out. Since the war, the industrial work- 
ers of Russia have become much less proletarian than they 
were before, because during the war all those who desired 
to evade military service went into the factories. This is 
common knowledge. On the other hand, it is equally 
undoubted that, taken as a whole (if we take the level of 
the overwhelming majority of Party members), our Party 
is less politically trained than is necessary for real prole- 
tarian leadership in the present difficult situation, espe- 
cially in view of the tremendous preponderance of the 
peasantry, which is rapidly awakening to independent 
class politics. Further, it must be borne in mind that the 
temptation to join the ruling party at the present time is 
very great. It is sufficient to recall all the literary produc- 
tions of the Smena Vekh writers to see that the types who 
have been carried away by the political successes of the 
Bolsheviks are very remote from everything proletarian. 



If the Genoa Conference results in further political suc- 
cesses for us, there will be a big increase in the efforts of 
petty-bourgeois elements, and of elements positively hostile 
to all that is proletarian, to penetrate into the Party. Six 
months' probation for workers will not diminish this pres- 
sure in the least, for it is the easiest thing in the world 
for anyone to qualify for this short probation period by 
fraudulent means, the more so that it is not in the least 
difficult under present conditions for very many intellec- 
tual and semi-intellectual elements to join the ranks of 
the workers. From all this I draw the conclusion that we 
must establish much longer probation periods and this 
opinion is strengthened by the fact that the whiteguards 
are definitely banking on the non-proletarian composition 
of our Party membership. If we agree to a six months' 
period for workers, we must without fail, in order not to 
deceive ourselves and others, define the term "worker" in 
such a way as to include only those who have acquired a 
proletarian mentality from their very conditions of life. 
But this is impossible unless the persons concerned have 
worked in a factory for many years — not from ulterior 
motives, but because of the general conditions of their 
economic and social life. 

If we do not close our eyes to reality we must admit 
that at the present time the proletarian policy of the Party 
is not determined by the character of its membership, but 
by the enormous undivided prestige enjoyed by the small 
group which might be called the Old Guard of the Party. 
A slight conflict within this group will be enough, if not to 
destroy this prestige, at all events to weaken the group 
to such a degree as to rob it of its power to determine policy. 

Hence, it is necessary: 1) to lengthen the probation 
period for all categories; 2) to define in great detail how 
the applicant is to pass the probation period; what concrete 
and practical tests should be applied to determine whether 
the probation period is really a period of probation and 
not a mere formality; 3) to create a qualified majority 
on the bodies which decide on the applications of new 
members; 4) to make it a rule that the decision to admit 
new members be endorsed, not only by the Gubernia Party 
Committees, but also by the Control Commissions; 5) to 



devise other measures for the purpose of helping the Party 
to rid itself of those members who are by no means Com- 
munists consciously implementing a proletarian policy. 
I do not propose that a new general purging of the Party 
be undertaken, because I think at the moment it is imprac- 
ticable; but I do think it is necessary to find some means 
of actually purging the Party, i.e., of reducing its member- 
ship. I am sure that if the necessary thought is given to 
the matter a number of suitable measures can be devised. 

I would ask the members of the Central Committee who 
will read this to reply to me if possible, if only in a brief 
telephone message to one of the secretaries of the Council 
of People's Commissars. 


March 26, 1922 

Dictated by telephone 

First published 
December 1925 

Published according to 
a typewritten copy 

OF THE R. C. P.(B.) 82 

MARCH 27-APRIL 2, 1922 

Published in 1922 in Odinnadisaty 
syezd R.K.P.(B .), Stenografichesky 
otchot (Eleventh Congress of the 
Russian Communist Party [Bol- 
sheviks], Verbatim Report), Moscow, 
Publishing Department of the Cen- 
tral Committee of the R.C.P. 

Published according to the text in 
the book checked with the verbatim 
report; speech at the closing session 
published according to the manu- 




Comrades, on behalf of the Central Committee of the 
Party I declare the Eleventh Congress of the R.C.P. open. 

Comrades, you have gathered in congress after a whole 
year, in the course of which we have, for the first time, been 
free from the intervention and invasion of capitalist coun- 
tries, at all events, in their most direct form. This is the 
first year that we have had the opportunity of devoting 
our efforts to the real, main and fundamental tasks of 
socialist construction. 

In this field we have undoubtedly taken only the first 
steps. But I am sure that if we soberly appraise what we 
have achieved and are not afraid to look facts — which 
are not always pleasant, and sometimes very unpleasant — 
straight in the face, we shall certainly overcome all the 
difficulties that only now are looming ahead of us in all 
their magnitude. 

The disasters that befell us in the past year were, if 
anything, even more severe than those of the preceding 

It seemed as if all the consequences of the imperialist 
war and of the war which the capitalists forced upon us had 
combined and hurled themselves upon us in the shape of 
famine and the most desperate ruin. These disasters have 
as yet been far from overcome; and none of us expects 
that they can be overcome soon. 

But if we maintain and strengthen the unity of our 
Party, if we emerge from international difficulties as suc- 
cessfully as we have done up to now, if we concentrate all 



our efforts on the tasks that now necessarily arise from 
present conditions, there can be no doubt that we shall 
overcome these difficulties. 

All over the world the communist movement is growing, 
if not as fast as those of us who measured it by wartime 
and immediate post-war standards expected, at all events 
it is growing and is becoming sound, solid, broad and 
deep. And if we, in co-operation with the Communist 
Parties that now exist in all, or nearly all, countries, 
soberly assess our position and are not afraid to admit 
our mistakes, we shall victoriously emerge from all these 





(Applause.) Comrades, permit me to start the political 
report of the Central Committee from the end and not 
from the beginning of the year. The political question 
most discussed today is Genoa. But since a great deal has 
already been said on the subject in our press, and since 
I have already said what is most essential to it in my speech 
on March 6, which has been published, I would ask you to 
permit me to refrain from going into details unless you 
particularly wish me to do so. 

On the whole you know everything about Genoa, because 
much has been written about it in the newspapers — in my 
opinion too much, to the detriment of the real, practical 
and urgent requirements of our work of construction in 
general, and of our economic development in particular. 
In Europe, in all bourgeois countries, of course, they like 
to occupy people's minds, or stuff their heads, with all 
sorts of trash about Genoa. On this occasion (I would say 
not only on this occasion) we are copying them, and copying 
them far too much. 

I must say that in the Central Committee we have taken 
very great pains to appoint a delegation of our best diplo- 
mats (we now have a fair number of Soviet diplomats, 
which was not the case in the early period of the Soviet 
Republic). The Central Committee has drawn up suffi- 
ciently detailed instructions for our diplomats at the Genoa 
Conference; we spent a long time discussing these instruc- 



tions and considered and reconsidered them several times. 
It goes without saying that the question here is, I shall 
not say of war, because that term is likely to be misunder- 
stood, but at all events one of rivalry. In the bourgeois 
camp there is a very strong trend, much stronger than any 
other, that wants to wreck the Genoa Conference. There 
are trends which greatly favour the Genoa Conference 
and want it to meet at all costs. The latter have now gained 
the upper hand. Lastly, in all bourgeois countries there 
are trends which might be called pacifist trends, among 
which should be included the entire Second and Two-and- 
a-Half Internationals. It is this section of the bourgeoisie 
which is advocating a number of pacifist proposals and is 
trying to concoct something in the nature of a pacifist 
policy. As Communists we have definite views about this 
pacifism which it would be superfluous to expound here. 
Needless to say, we are going to Genoa not as Communists, 
but as merchants. We must trade, and they must trade. 
We want the trade to benefit us; they want it to benefit 
them. The course of the issue will be determined, if only to 
a small degree, by the skill of our diplomats. 

Insofar as we are going to Genoa as merchants it is 
obviously by no means a matter of indifference to us whether 
we shall deal with those people from the bourgeois camp 
who are inclined to settle the problem by war, or with those 
who are inclined towards pacifism, even the worst kind of 
pacifism, which from the communist viewpoint will not 
stand the slightest criticism. It would be a bad merchant, 
indeed, if he were unable to appreciate this distinction, 
and, by shaping his tactics accordingly, achieve practical 

We are going to Genoa for the practical purpose of 
expanding trade and of creating the most favourable condi- 
tions for its successful development on the widest scale. 
But we cannot guarantee the success of the Genoa Con- 
ference. It would be ridiculous and absurd to give any 
guarantees on that score. I must say, however, that, weigh- 
ing up the present possibilities of Genoa in the most sober 
and cautious manner, I think that it will not be an exag- 
geration to say that we shall achieve our object. 

Through Genoa, if the other parties in the negotiations 



are sufficiently shrewd and not too stubborn; bypassing 
Genoa if they take it into their heads to be stubborn. But we 
shall achieve our goal! 

The fact of the matter is that the most urgent, pressing 
and practical interests that have been sharply revealed in 
all the capitalist countries during the past few years call 
for the development, regulation and expansion of trade 
with Russia. Since such interests exist, we may argue, 
we may quarrel, we may disagree on specific combinations — 
it is highly probable that we shall have to disagree — this 
fundamental economic necessity will, nevertheless, after 
all is said and done, make a way for itself. I think we can 
rest assured of that I cannot vouch for the date; I cannot 
vouch for success; but at this gathering we can say with 
a fair amount of certainty that regular trade relations 
between the Soviet Republic and all the capitalist coun- 
tries in the world are certain to continue developing. When 
I come to it in another part of my report I shall mention 
the hitches that may possibly occur; but I think that this 
is all that need be said on the question of Genoa. 

Needless to say, the comrades who desire to study the 
question in greater detail and who are not content with the 
list of delegates published in the newspapers may set up a 
commission, or a section, and acquaint themselves with 
all the material of the Central Committee, and all the 
correspondence and instructions. Of course, the details we 
have outlined are provisional, for no one up to now knows 
exactly who will sit round the table at Genoa, and what 
terms, or preliminary terms or provisions will be announced. 
It would be highly inexpedient, and I think practically 
impossible, to discuss all this here. I repeat, this Con- 
gress, through the medium of a section, or a commission, 
has every opportunity to collect all the documents on this 
question — both the published documents and those in the 
possession of the Central Committee. 

I shall not say any more, for I am sure that it is not 
here that our greatest difficulties lie. This is not the question 
on which the attention of the whole Party should be 
focussed. The European bourgeois press is artificially and 
deliberately inflating and exaggerating the importance 
of this Conference in order to deceive the masses of the 



working people (as nine-tenths of the bourgeois press in all 
these free democratic countries and republics always does). 
We have succumbed to the influence of this press to some 
extent. As usual, our press still yields to the old bourgeois 
habits; it refuses to adopt new, socialist methods, and we 
have made a greater fuss about this subject than it deserves. 
In fact, for Communists, especially for those who have 
lived through such stern years as we have lived through 
since 1917, and witnessed the formidable political com- 
binations that have appeared in that period, Genoa does 
not present any great difficulties. I cannot recall any dis- 
agreement or controversy on this question either in the 
Central Committee or in the ranks of the Party. This is 
natural, for there is nothing controversial here from the 
point of view of Communists, even bearing in mind the 
various shades of opinion among them. I repeat: we are 
going to Genoa as merchants for the purpose of securing 
the most favourable terms for promoting the trade which 
has started, which is being carried on, and which, even if 
someone succeeded in forcibly interrupting it for a time, 
would inevitably continue to develop after the interrup- 

Hence, confining myself to these brief remarks about 
Genoa, I shall now proceed to deal with the issues which, 
in my opinion, have been the major political questions of 
the past year and which will be such in the ensuing year. 
It seems to me that the political report of the Central Com- 
mittee should not merely deal with the events of the year 
under review, but also point out (that, at any rate, is what 
I usually do) the main, fundamental political lessons of 
the events of that year, so that we may learn something 
for the ensuing year and be in a position to correctly deter- 
mine our policy for that year. 

The New Economic Policy is, of course, the major ques- 
tion. This has been the dominant question throughout the 
year under review. If we have any important, serious and 
irrevocable gain to record for this year (and I am not so 
very sure that we have), it is that we have learnt something 
from the launching of this New Economic Policy. If we 
have learnt even a little, then, during the past year, we 
have learnt a great deal in this field. And the test of whether 



we have really learnt anything, and to what extent, will 
probably be made by subsequent events of a kind which 
we ourselves can do little to determine, as for example 
the impending financial crisis. It seems to me that in con- 
nection with the New Economic Policy, the most impor- 
tant things to keep in mind as a basis for all our argu- 
ments, as a means of testing our experience during the past 
year, and of learning practical lessons for the ensuing year 
are contained in the following three points. 

First, the New Economic Policy is important for us 
primarily as a means of testing whether we are really estab- 
lishing a link with the peasant economy. In the preceding 
period of development of our revolution, when all our 
attention and all our efforts were concentrated mainly on, 
or almost entirely absorbed by, the task of repelling 
invasion, we could not devote the necessary attention to this 
link; we had other things to think about. To some extent 
we could and had to ignore this bond when we were confront- 
ed by the absolutely urgent and overshadowing task of 
warding off the danger of being immediately crushed by 
the gigantic forces of world imperialism. 

The turn towards the New Economic Policy was decided 
on at the last Congress with exceptional unanimity, with 
even greater unanimity than other questions have been 
decided by our Party (which, it must be admitted, is gener- 
ally distinguished for its unanimity). This unanimity 
showed that the need for a new approach to socialist econ- 
omy had fully matured. People who differed on many 
questions, and who assessed the situation from different 
angles, unanimously and very quickly and unhesitantly 
agreed that we lacked a real approach to socialist economy, 
to the task of building its foundation; that the only means 
of finding this approach was the New Economic Policy. 
Owing to the course taken by the development of war 
events, by the development of political events, by the devel- 
opment of capitalism in the old, civilised West, and owing 
also to the social and political conditions that developed 
in the colonies, we were the first to make a breach in the 
old bourgeois world at a time when our country was eco- 
nomically, if not the most backward, at any rate one of 
the most backward countries in the world. The vast 



majority of the peasants in our country are engaged in small 
individual farming. The items of our programme of build- 
ing a communist society, that we could apply immediately, 
were to some extent outside the sphere of activity of the 
broad mass of the peasantry, upon whom we imposed very 
heavy obligations, which we justified on the grounds that 
war permitted no wavering in this matter. Taken as a whole, 
this was accepted as justification by the peasantry, not- 
withstanding the mistakes we could not avoid. On the 
whole, the mass of the peasantry realised and understood 
that the enormous burdens imposed upon them were neces- 
sary in order to save the workers' and peasants' rule from 
the landowners and prevent it from being strangled by 
capitalist invasion, which threatened to wrest away all 
the gains of the revolution. But there was no link between 
the peasant economy and the economy that was being built 
up in the nationalised, socialised factories and on state farms. 

We saw this clearly at the last Party Congress. We saw 
it so clearly that there was no hesitation whatever in the 
Party on the question as to whether the New Economic 
Policy was inevitable or not. 

It is amusing to read what is said about our decision 
in the numerous publications of the various Russian 
parties abroad. There are only trifling differences in the 
opinions they express. Living with memories of the past, 
they still continue to reiterate that to this day the Left 
Communists are opposed to the New Economic Policy. In 
1921 they remembered what had occurred in 1918 and 
what our Left Communists themselves have forgotten; 
and they go on chewing this over and over again, assuring 
the world that these Bolsheviks are a sly and false lot, 
and that they are concealing from Europe that they have 
disagreements in their ranks. Reading this, one says to 
oneself, "Let them go on fooling themselves." If this is 
what they imagine is going on in this country, we can 
judge the degree of intelligence of these allegedly highly 
educated old fogies who have fled abroad. We know that 
there have been no disagreements in our ranks, and the 
reason for this is that the practical necessity of a different 
approach to the task of building the foundation of social- 
ist economy was clear to all. 



There was no link between the peasant economy and the 
new economy we tried to create. Does it exist now? Not 
yet. We are only approaching it. The whole significance 
of the New Economic Policy — which our press still often 
searches for everywhere except where it should search — 
the whole purpose of this policy is to find a way of estab- 
lishing a link between the new economy, which we are 
creating with such enormous effort, and the peasant econ- 
omy. That is what stands to our credit; without it we 
would not be communist revolutionaries. 

We began to develop the new economy in an entirely 
new way, brushing aside everything old. Had we not begun 
to develop it we would have been utterly defeated in the 
very first months, in the very first years. But the fact 
that we began to develop this new economy with such 
splendid audacity does not mean that we must necessarily 
continue in the same way. Why should we? There is no 

From the very beginning we said that we had to 
undertake an entirely new task, and that unless we 
received speedy assistance from our comrades, the workers 
in the capitalistically more developed countries, we should 
encounter incredible difficulties and certainly make a 
number of mistakes. The main thing is to be able dispassion- 
ately to examine where such mistakes have been made and 
to start again from the beginning. If we begin from the 
beginning, not twice, but many times, it will show that we 
are not bound by prejudice, and that we are approaching 
our task, which is the greatest the world has ever seen, 
with a sober outlook. 

Today, as far as the New Economic Policy is concerned 
the main thing is to assimilate the experience of the past 
year correctly. That must be done, and we want to do it. 
And if we want to do it, come what may (and we do want 
to do it, and shall do it!), we must know that the problem 
of the New Economic Policy, the fundamental, decisive 
and overriding problem, is to establish a link between 
the new economy that we have begun to create (very badly, 
very clumsily, but have nevertheless begun to create, on 
the basis of an entirely new, socialist economy, of a new 
system of production and distribution) and the peasant 



economy, by which millions and millions of peasants 
obtain their livelihood. 

This link has been lacking, and we must create it before 
anything else. Everything else must be subordinated to 
this. We have still to ascertain the extent to which the 
New Economic Policy has succeeded in creating this link 
without destroying what we have begun so clumsily to build. 

We are developing our economy together with the peas- 
antry. We shall have to alter it many times and organise 
it in such a way that it will provide a link between our 
socialist work on large-scale industry and agriculture and 
the work every peasant is doing as best he can, struggling 
out of poverty, without philosophising (for how can phi- 
losophising help him to extricate himself from his position 
and save him from the very real danger of a painful death 
from starvation?). 

We must reveal this link so that we may see it clearly, 
so that all the people may see it, and so that the whole 
mass of the peasantry may see that there is a connection 
between their present severe, incredibly ruined, incred- 
ibly impoverished and painful existence and the work 
which is being done for the sake of remote socialist ideals. 
We must bring about a situation where the ordinary, rank- 
and-file working man realises that he has obtained some 
improvement, and that he has obtained it not in the way 
a few peasants obtained improvements under the rule of 
landowners and capitalists, when every improvement 
(undoubtedly there were improvements and very big ones) 
was accompanied by insult, derision and humiliation for 
the muzhik, by violence against the masses, which not a 
single peasant has forgotten, and which will not be forgot- 
ten in Russia for decades. Our aim is to restore the link, 
to prove to the peasant by deeds that we are beginning 
with what is intelligible, familiar and immediately acces- 
sible to him, in spite of his poverty, and not with some- 
thing remote and fantastic from the peasant's point of view. 
We must prove that we can help him and that in this 
period, when the small peasant is in a state of appalling 
ruin, impoverishment and starvation, the Communists 
are really helping him. Either we prove that, or he will 
send us to the devil. That is absolutely inevitable. 



Such is the significance of the New Economic Policy; 
it is the basis of our entire policy; it is the major lesson 
taught by the whole of the past year's experience in 
applying the New Economic Policy, and, so to speak, our 
main political rule for the coming year. The peasant is 
allowing us credit, and, of course, after what he has lived 
through, he cannot do otherwise. Taken in the mass, the 
peasants go on saying: "Well, if you are not able to do 
it yet, we shall wait; perhaps you will learn." But this 
credit cannot go on for ever. 

This we must know; and having obtained credit we must 
hurry. We must know that the time is approaching when 
this peasant country will no longer give us credit, when 
it will demand cash, to use a commercial term. It will 
say: "You have postponed payment for so many months, 
so many years. But by this time, dear rulers, you must 
have learnt the most sound and reliable method of helping 
us free ourselves from poverty, want, starvation and ruin. 
You can do it, you have proved it." This is the test that we 
shall inevitably have to face; and, in the last analysis, 
this test will decide everything: the fate of NEP and the 
fate of communist rule in Russia. 

Shall we accomplish our immediate task or not? Is this 
NEP fit for anything or not? If the retreat turns out to be 
correct tactics, we must link up with the peasant masses 
while we are in retreat, and subsequently march forward 
with them a hundred times more slowly, but firmly and 
unswervingly, in a way that will always make it apparent 
to them that we are really marching forward. Then our 
cause will be absolutely invincible, and no power on earth 
can vanquish us. We did not accomplish this in the first 
year. We must say this frankly. And I am profoundly 
convinced (and our New Economic Policy enables us to 
draw this conclusion quite definitely and firmly) that if 
we appreciate the enormous danger harboured by NEP 
and concentrate all our forces on its weak points, we shall 
solve this problem. 

Link up with the peasant masses, with the rank-and-file 
working peasants, and begin to move forward immeas- 
urably, infinitely more slowly than we expected, but in such 
a way that the entire mass will actually move forward 



with us. If we do that we shall in time progress much more 
quickly than we even dream of today. This, in my opinion, 
is the first fundamental political lesson of the New Eco- 
nomic Policy. 

The second, more specific lesson is the test through 
competition between state and capitalist enterprises. We 
are now forming mixed companies — I shall have something 
to say about these later on — which, like our state trade and 
our New Economic Policy as a whole, mean that we Com- 
munists are resorting to commercial, capitalist methods. 
These mixed companies are also important because through 
them practical competition is created between capitalist 
methods and our methods. Consider it practically. Up to 
now we have been writing a programme and making prom- 
ises. In its time this was absolutely necessary. It is impos- 
sible to launch on a world revolution without a programme 
and without promises. If the whiteguards, including 
the Mensheviks, jeer at us for this, it only shows that the 
Mensheviks and the socialists of the Second and Two-and- 
a-Half Internationals have no idea, in general, of the way 
a revolution develops. We could proceed in no other way. 

Now, however, the position is that we must put our work 
to a serious test, and not the sort of test that is made by 
control institutions set up by the Communists them- 
selves, even though these control institutions are mag- 
nificent, even though they are almost the ideal control 
institutions in the Soviet system and the Party; such a test 
may be mockery from the point of view of the actual 
requirements of the peasant economy, but it is certainly 
no mockery from the standpoint of our construction. We are 
now setting up these control institutions but I am referring 
not to this test but to the test from the point of view of 
the entire economy. 

The capitalist was able to supply things. He did it inef- 
ficiently, charged exorbitant prices, insulted and robbed 
us. The ordinary workers and peasants, who do not argue 
about communism because they do not know what it is, 
are well aware of this. 

"But the capitalists were, after all, able to supply things — 
are you? You are not able to do it." That is what we heard 
last spring; though not always clearly audible, it was the 



undertone of the whole of last spring's crisis. "As people 
you are splendid, but you cannot cope with the economic 
task you have undertaken." This is the simple and wither- 
ing criticism which the peasantry — and through the peas- 
antry, some sections of workers — levelled at the Commu- 
nist Party last year. That is why in the NEP question, 
this old point acquires such significance. 

We need a real test. The capitalists are operating along- 
side us. They are operating like robbers; they make prof- 
it; but they know how to do things. But you — you are 
trying to do it in a new way: you make no profit, your 
principles are communist, your ideals are splendid; they 
are written out so beautifully that you seem to be saints, 
that you should go to heaven while you are still alive. But 
can you get things done? We need a test, a real test, not 
the kind the Central Control Commission makes when it 
censures somebody and the All-Russia Central Executive 
Committee imposes some penalty. Yes, we want a real 
test from the viewpoint of the national economy. 

We Communists have received numerous deferments, 
and more credit has been allowed us than any other govern- 
ment has ever been given. Of course, we Communists helped 
to get rid of the capitalists and landowners. The peasants 
appreciate this and have given us an extension of time, 
longer credit, but only for a certain period. After that 
comes the test: can you run the economy as well as the 
others? The old capitalist can; you cannot. 

That is the first lesson, the first main part of the political 
report of the Central Committee. We cannot run the econ- 
omy. This has been proved in the past year. I would 
like very much to quote the example of several Gos-trests 
(if I may express myself in the beautiful Russian language 
that Turgenev praised so highly)* to show how we run the 

Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, and largely 
owing to ill health, I have been unable to elaborate this 
part of my report and so I must confine myself to express- 

* An ironical reference to the habit, then emerging, of abbreviat- 
ing the names of various institutions. Here the abbreviation stands 
for state trusts. — Ed. 



ing my conviction, which is based on my observations of 
what is going on. During the past year we showed quite 
clearly that we cannot run the economy. That is the fun- 
damental lesson. Either we prove the opposite in the coming 
year, or Soviet power will not be able to exist. And the 
greatest danger is that not everybody realises this. If all 
of us Communists, the responsible officials, clearly realise 
that we lack the ability to run the economy, that we must 
learn from the very beginning, then we shall win — that, 
in my opinion, is the fundamental conclusion that should 
be drawn. But many of us do not appreciate this and believe 
that if there are people who do think that way, it can only 
be the ignorant, who have not studied communism; perhaps 
they will some day learn and understand. No, excuse me, 
the point is not that the peasant or the non-Party worker 
has not studied communism, but that the time has passed 
when the job was to draft a programme and call upon the 
people to carry out this great programme. That time 
has passed. Today you must prove that you can give 
practical economic assistance to the workers and to the 
peasants under the present difficult conditions, and thus 
demonstrate to them that you have stood the test of 

The mixed companies that we have begun to form, in 
which private capitalists, Russian and foreign, and Com- 
munists participate, provide one of the means by which 
we can learn to organise competition properly and show 
that we are no less able to establish a link with the peasant 
economy than the capitalists; that we can meet its require- 
ments; that we can help the peasant make progress even 
at his present level, in spite of his backwardness; for it 
is impossible to change him in a brief span of time. 

That is the sort of competition confronting us as an abso- 
lutely urgent task. It is the pivot of the New Economic 
Policy and, in my opinion, the quintessence of the Party's 
policy. We are faced with any number of purely political 
problems and difficulties. You know what they are: Genoa, 
the danger of intervention. The difficulties are enormous 
but they are nothing compared with this economic diffi- 
culty. We know how things are done in the political field; 
we have gained considerable experience; we have learned 



a lot about bourgeois diplomacy. It is the sort of thing 
the Mensheviks taught us for fifteen years, and we got 
something useful out of it. This is not new. 

But here is something we must do now in the economic 
field. We must win the competition against the ordinary 
shop assistant, the ordinary capitalist, the merchant, who 
will go to the peasant without arguing about communism. 
Just imagine, he will not begin to argue about communism, 
but will argue in this way — if you want to obtain something, 
or carry on trade properly, or if you want to build, I will do 
the building at a high price; the Communists will, perhaps, 
build at a higher price, perhaps even ten times higher. 
It is this kind of agitation that is now the crux of the matter; 
herein lies the root of economics. 

I repeat, thanks to our correct policy, the people allowed 
us a deferment of payment and credit, and this, to put it 
in terms of NEP, is a promissory note. But this promissory 
note is undated, and you cannot learn from the wording 
when it will be presented for redemption. Therein lies the 
danger; this is the specific feature that distinguishes these 
political promissory notes from ordinary, commercial 
promissory notes. We must concentrate all our attention 
on this, and not rest content with the fact that there are 
responsible and good Communists in all the state trusts 
and mixed companies. That is of no use, because these 
Communists do not know how to run the economy and, in 
that respect, are inferior to the ordinary capitalist sales- 
men, who have received their training in big factories 
and big firms. But we refuse to admit this; in this field 
communist conceit — komchvanstvo,* to use the great 
Russian language again — still persists. The whole point is 
that the responsible Communists, even the best of them, 
who are unquestionably honest and loyal, who in the old 
days suffered penal servitude and did not fear death, do 
not know how to trade, because they are not businessmen, 
they have not learnt to trade, do not want to learn and do 
not understand that they must start learning from the 
beginning. Communists, revolutionaries who have accom- 
plished the greatest revolution in the world, on whom the 

* Literally, "comconceit". — Ed. 



eyes of, if not forty pyramids, then, at all events, forty 
European countries are turned in the hope of emancipa- 
tion from capitalism, must learn from ordinary salesmen. 
But these ordinary salesmen have had ten years' ware- 
house experience and know the business, whereas the re- 
sponsible Communists and devoted revolutionaries do not 
know the business, and do not even realise that they do 
not know it. 

And so, comrades, if we do away with at least this ele- 
mentary ignorance we shall achieve a tremendous victory. 
We must leave this Congress with the conviction that we 
are ignorant of this business and with the resolve to start 
learning it from the bottom. After all, we have not ceased 
to be revolutionaries (although many say, and not alto- 
gether without foundation, that we have become bureau- 
crats) and can understand this simple thing, that in a new 
and unusually difficult undertaking we must be prepared 
to start from the beginning over and over again. If after 
starting you find yourselves at a dead end, start again, 
and go on doing it ten times if necessary, until you attain 
your object. Do not put on airs, do not be conceited because 
you are a Communist while there is some non-Party sales- 
man, perhaps a whiteguard — and very likely he is a white- 
guard — who can do things which economically must be 
done at all costs, but which you cannot do. If you, respon- 
sible Communists, who have hundreds of ranks and titles 
and wear communist and Soviet Orders, realise this, you 
will attain your object, because this is something that 
can be learned. 

We have some successes, even if only very tiny ones, to 
record for the past year, but they are insignificant. The 
main thing is that there is no realisation nor widespread 
conviction among all Communists that at the present 
time the responsible and most devoted Russian Communist 
is less able to perform these functions than any salesman 
of the old school. I repeat, we must start learning from 
the very beginning. If we realise this, we shall pass our 
test; and the test is a serious one which the impending 
financial crisis will set — the test set by the Russian and 
international market to which we are subordinated, with 
which we are connected, and from which we cannot isolate 



ourselves. The test is a crucial one, for here we may be 
beaten economically and politically. 

That is how the question stands and it cannot be other- 
wise, for the competition will be very severe, and it will 
be decisive. We had many outlets and loopholes that 
enabled us to escape from our political and economic diffi- 
culties. We can proudly say that up to now we have been 
able to utilise these outlets and loopholes in various com- 
binations corresponding to the varying circumstances. But 
how we have no other outlets. Permit me to say this to 
you without exaggeration, because in this respect it is 
really "the last and decisive battle", not against inter- 
national capitalism — against that we shall yet have many 
"last and decisive battles" — but against Russian capital- 
ism, against the capitalism that is growing out of the small 
peasant economy, the capitalism that is fostered by the 
latter. Here we shall have a fight on our hands in the 
immediate future, and the date of it cannot be fixed exactly. 
Here the "last and decisive battle" is impending; here 
there are no political or any other flanking movements 
that we can undertake, because this is a test in compe- 
tition with private capital. Either we pass this test in 
competition with private capital, or we fail completely. 
To help us pass it we have political power and a host of 
economic and other resources; we have everything you 
want except ability. We lack ability. And if we learn this 
simple lesson from the experience of last year and take it 
as our guiding line for the whole of 1922, we shall conquer 
this difficulty, too, in spite of the fact that it is much 
greater than the previous difficulty, for it rests upon our- 
selves. It is not like some external enemy. The difficulty 
is that we ourselves refuse to admit the unpleasant truth 
forced upon us; we refuse to undertake the unpleasant duty 
that the situation demands of us, namely, to start learning 
from the beginning. That, in my opinion, is the second 
lesson that we must learn from the New Economic Policy. 

The third, supplementary lesson is on the question of 
state capitalism. It is a pity Comrade Bukharin is not 
present at the Congress. I should have liked to argue with 
him a little, but that had better be postponed to the next 
Congress. On the question of state capitalism, I think that 



generally our press and our Party make the mistake of 
dropping into intellectualism, into liberalism; we phi- 
losophise about how state capitalism is to be interpreted, 
and look into old books. But in those old books you will 
not find what we are discussing; they deal with the state 
capitalism that exists under capitalism. Not a single book 
has been written about state capitalism under communism. 
It did not occur even to Marx to write a word on this subject; 
and he died without leaving a single precise statement or 
definite instruction on it. That is why we must overcome 
the difficulty entirely by ourselves. And if we make a 
general mental survey of our press and see what has been 
written about state capitalism, as I tried to do when I 
was preparing this report, we shall be convinced that it 
is missing the target, that it is looking in an entirely wrong 

The state capitalism discussed in all books on econom- 
ics is that which exists under the capitalist system, 
where the state brings under its direct control certain 
capitalist enterprises. But ours is a proletarian state; 
it rests on the proletariat; it gives the proletariat all polit- 
ical privileges; and through the medium of the proletariat 
it attracts to itself the lower ranks of the peasantry (you 
remember that we began this work through the Poor Peas- 
ants Committees). That is why very many people are 
misled by the term state capitalism. To avoid this we 
must remember the fundamental thing that state capitalism 
in the form we have here is not dealt with in any theory, 
or in any books, for the simple reason that all the usual 
concepts connected with this term are associated with 
bourgeois rule in capitalist society. Our society is one 
which has left the rails of capitalism, but has not yet got 
on to new rails. The state in this society is not ruled by 
the bourgeoisie, but by the proletariat. We refuse to 
understand that when we say "state" we mean ourselves, 
the proletariat, the vanguard of the working class. State 
capitalism is capitalism which we shall be able to restrain, 
and the limits of which we shall be able to fix. This state 
capitalism is connected with the state, and the state is the 
workers, the advanced section of the workers, the van- 
guard. We are the state. 



State capitalism is capitalism that we must confine within 
certain bounds; but we have not yet learned to confine it 
within those bounds. That is the whole point. And it rests 
with us to determine what this state capitalism is to be. We 
have sufficient, quite sufficient political power; we also 
have sufficient economic resources at our command, but the 
vanguard of the working class which has been brought to 
the forefront to directly supervise, to determine the 
boundaries, to demarcate, to subordinate and not be subordi- 
nated itself, lacks sufficient ability for it. All that is needed 
here is ability, and that is what we do not have. 

Never before in history has there been a situation in which 
the proletariat, the revolutionary vanguard, possessed suffi- 
cient political power and had state capitalism existing along- 
side it. The whole question turns on our understanding that 
this is the capitalism that we can and must permit, that we 
can and must confine within certain bounds; for this capi- 
talism is essential for the broad masses of the peasantry 
and for private capital, which must trade in such a way as 
to satisfy the needs of the peasantry. We must organise 
things in such a way as to make possible the customary opera- 
tion of capitalist economy and capitalist exchange, because 
this is essential for the people. Without it, existence is 
impossible. All the rest is not an absolutely vital matter to 
this camp. They can resign themselves to all that. You Com- 
munists, you workers, you, the politically enlightened sec- 
tion of the proletariat, which under took to administer the 
state, must be able to arrange it so that the state, which you 
have taken into your hands, shall function the way you want 
it to. Well, we have lived through a year, the state is in 
our hands; but has it operated the New Economic Policy 
in the way we wanted in this past year? No. But we refuse 
to admit that it did not operate in the way we wanted. How 
did it operate? The machine refused to obey the hand that 
guided it. It was like a car that was going not in the direc- 
tion the driver desired, but in the direction someone else 
desired; as if it were being driven by some mysterious, law- 
less hand, God knows whose, perhaps of a profiteer, or of a 
private capitalist, or of both. Be that as it may, the car is 
not going quite in the direction the man at the wheel imag- 
ines, and often it goes in an altogether different direction. 



This is the main thing that must be remembered in regard to 
state capitalism. In this main field we must start learning 
from the very beginning, and only when we have thorough- 
ly understood and appreciated this can we be sure that we 
shall learn. 

Now I come to the question of halting the retreat, a ques- 
tion I dealt with in my speech at the Congress of Metal- 
workers. Since then I have not heard any objection, either 
in the Party press, or in private letters from comrades, or in 
the Central Committee. The Central Committee approved my 
plan, which was, that in the report of the Central Committee 
to the present Congress strong emphasis should be laid on 
calling a halt to this retreat and that the Congress should 
give binding instructions on behalf of the whole Party 
accordingly. For a year we have been retreating. On behalf 
of the Party we must now call a halt. The purpose pursued 
by the retreat has been achieved. This period is drawing, or 
has drawn, to a close. We now have a different objective, 
that of regrouping our forces. We have reached a new line; 
on the whole, we have conducted the retreat in fairly good 
order. True, not a few voices were heard from various sides 
which tried to convert this retreat into a stampede. Some — 
for example, several members of the group which bore the 
name of Workers' Opposition (I don't think they had any 
right to that name) — argued that we were not retreating 
properly in some sector or other. Owing to their excessive 
zeal they found themselves at the wrong door, and now they 
realise it. At that time they did not see that their activities 
did not help us to correct our movement, but merely had 
the effect of spreading panic and hindering our effort to beat 
a disciplined retreat. 

Retreat is a difficult matter, especially for revolutionaries 
who are accustomed to advance; especially when they have 
been accustomed to advance with enormous success for sev- 
eral years; especially if they are surrounded by revolution- 
aries in other countries who are longing for the time when 
they can launch an offensive. Seeing that we were retreating, 
several of them burst into tears in a disgraceful and child- 
ish manner, as was the case at the last extended Plenary 
Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Communist 
International. Moved by the best communist sentiments 



and communist aspirations, several of the comrades burst 
into tears because — oh horror! — the good Russian Commu- 
nists were retreating. Perhaps it is now difficult for me to un- 
derstand this West-European mentality, although I lived for 
quite a number of years in those marvellous democratic coun- 
tries as an exile. Perhaps from their point of view this is 
such a difficult matter to understand that it is enough to 
make one weep. We, at any rate, have no time for sentiment. 
It was clear to us that because we had advanced so success- 
fully for many years and had achieved so many extraordinary 
victories (and all this in a country that was in an appalling 
state of ruin and lacked the material resources!), to con- 
solidate that advance, since we had gained so much, it was 
absolutely essential for us to retreat. We could not hold 
all the positions we had captured in the first onslaught. 
On the other hand, it was because we had captured so much in 
the first onslaught, on the crest of the wave of enthusiasm 
displayed by the workers and peasants, that we had room 
enough to retreat a long distance, and can retreat still fur- 
ther now, without losing our main and fundamental posi- 
tions. On the whole, the retreat was fairly orderly, although 
certain panic-stricken voices, among them that of the Work- 
ers' Opposition (this was the tremendous harm it did!), 
caused losses in our ranks, caused a relaxation of discipline, 
and disturbed the proper order of retreat. The most danger- 
ous thing during a retreat is panic. When a whole army (I 
speak in the figurative sense) is in retreat, it cannot have the 
same morale as when it is advancing. At every step you find 
a certain mood of depression. We even had poets who wrote 
that people were cold and starving in Moscow, that "every- 
thing before was bright and beautiful, but now trade and 
profiteering abound". We have had quite a number of 
poetic effusions of this sort. 

Of course, retreat breeds all this. That is where the seri- 
ous danger lies; it is terribly difficult to retreat after a great 
victorious advance, for the relations are entirely different. 
During a victorious advance, even if discipline is relaxed, 
everybody presses forward on his own accord. During a re- 
treat, however, discipline must be more conscious and is a 
hundred times more necessary, because, when the entire 
army is in retreat, it does not know or see where it should halt. 



It sees only retreat; under such circumstances a few 
panic-stricken voices are, at times, enough to cause a stam- 
pede. The danger here is enormous. When a real army is in 
retreat, machine-guns are kept ready, and when an orderly 
retreat degenerates into a disorderly one, the command to 
fire is given, and quite rightly, too. 

If, during an incredibly difficult retreat, when everything 
depends on preserving proper order, anyone spreads panic — 
even from the best of motives — the slightest breach of dis- 
cipline must be punished severely, sternly, ruthlessly; and 
this applies not only to certain of our internal Party affairs, 
but also, and to a greater extent, to such gentry as the Men- 
sheviks, and to all the gentry of the Two-and-a-Half Interna- 

The other day I read an article by Comrade Rakosi in 
No. 20 of The Communist International on a new book by Otto 
Bauer, from whom at one time we all learned, but who, like 
Kautsky, became a miserable petty bourgeois after the war. 83 
Bauer now writes: "There, they are now retreating to capi- 
talism! We have always said that it was a bourgeois revolu- 

And the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, all 
of whom preach this sort of thing, are astonished when we 
declare that we shall shoot people for such things. They are 
amazed; but surely it is clear. When an army is in retreat 
a hundred times more discipline is required than when it 
is advancing, because during an advance everybody presses 
forward. If everybody started rushing back now, it would 
spell immediate and inevitable disaster. 

The most important thing at such a moment is to retreat 
in good order, to fix the precise limits of the retreat, and not 
to give way to panic. And when a Menshevik says, "You are 
now retreating; I have been advocating retreat all the time, 
I agree with you, I am your man, let us retreat together," 
we say in reply, "For the public manifestations of Menshevism 
our revolutionary courts must pass the death sentence, other- 
wise they are not our courts, but God knows what." 

They cannot understand this and exclaim: "What dicta- 
torial manners these people have!" They still think we are 
persecuting the Mensheviks because they fought us in Ge- 
neva. 84 But had we done that we should have been unable 



to hold power even for two months. Indeed, the sermons 
which Otto Bauer, the leaders of the Second and Two-and-a- 
Half Internationals, the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries preach express their true nature — "The revolu- 
tion has gone too far. What you are saying now we have been 
saying all the time, permit us to say it again." But we say 
in reply: "Permit us to put you before a firing squad for 
saying that. Either you refrain from expressing your views, 
or, if you insist on expressing your political views publicly 
in the present circumstances, when our position is far more 
difficult than it was when the whiteguards were directly 
attacking us, then you will have only yourselves to blame if 
we treat you as the worst and most pernicious whiteguard 
elements." We must never forget this. 

When I speak about halting the retreat I do not mean 
that we have learned to trade. On the contrary, I am of the 
opposite opinion; and if my speech were to create that im- 
pression it would show that I had been misunderstood and 
that I am unable to express my thoughts properly. 

The point, however, is that we must put a stop to the 
nervousness and fuss that have arisen with the introduction 
of NEP — the desire to do everything in a new way and to 
adapt everything. We now have a number of mixed compa- 
nies. True, we have only very few. There are nine companies 
formed in conjunction with foreign capitalists and sanc- 
tioned by the Commissariat of Foreign Trade. The Sokol- 
nikov Commission 85 has sanctioned six and the Northern 
Timber Trust 86 has sanctioned two. Thus we now have sev- 
enteen companies with an aggregate capital amounting to 
many millions, sanctioned by several government depart- 
ments (of course, there is plenty of confusion with all these 
departments, so that some slip here is also possible). At any 
rate we have formed companies jointly with Russian and 
foreign capitalists. There are only a few of them. But this 
small but practical start shows that the Communists have 
been judged by what they do. They have not been judged by 
such high institutions as the Central Control Commission 
and the All-Russia Central Executive Committee. The Cen- 
tral Control Commission is a splendid institution, of course, 
and we shall now give it more power. For all that, the judge- 
ment these institutions pass on Communists is not — just 



imagine — recognised on the international market. {Laughter.) 
But now that ordinary Russian and foreign capitalists are 
joining the Communists in forming mixed companies, we 
say, "We can do things after all; bad as it is, meagre as it 
is, we have got something for a start." True, it is not very 
much. Just think of it: a year has passed since we declared 
that we would devote all our energy (and it is said that we 
have a great deal of energy) to this matter, and in this year 
we have managed to form only seventeen companies. 

This shows how devilishly clumsy and inept we are; how 
much Oblomovism still remains, for which we shall inevi- 
tably get a good thrashing. For all that, I repeat, a start, a 
reconnaissance has been made. The capitalists would not 
agree to have dealings with us if the elementary conditions 
for their operations did not exist. Even if only a very small 
section of them has agreed to this, it shows that we have 
scored a partial victory. 

Of course, they will cheat us in these companies, cheat 
us so that it will take several years before matters are 
straightened out. But that does not matter. I do not say 
that that is a victory; it is a reconnaissance, which shows that 
we have an arena, we have a terrain, and can now stop the 

The reconnaissance has revealed that we have concluded 
an insignificant number of agreements with capitalists; 
but we have concluded them for all that. We must learn 
from that and continue our operations. In this sense we must 
put a stop to nervousness, screaming and fuss. We received 
notes and telephone messages, one after another asking, 
"Now that we have NEP, may we be reorganised too?" 
Everybody is bustling, and we get utter confusion, nobody is 
doing any practical work; everybody is continuously arguing 
about how to adapt oneself to NEP, but no practical results 
are forthcoming. 

The merchants are laughing at us Communists, and in all 
probability are saying, "Formerly there were Persuaders- 
in-Chief, 87 now we have Talkers-in-Chief." That the 
capitalists gloated over the fact that we started late, that 
we were not sharp enough — of that there need not be the 
slightest doubt. In this sense, I say, these instructions 
must be endorsed in the name of the Congress. 



The retreat is at an end. The principal methods of opera- 
tion, of how we are to work with the capitalists, are out- 
lined. We have examples, even if an insignificant number. 

Stop philosophising and arguing about NEP. Let the poets 
write verses, that is what they are poets for. But you econom- 
ists, you stop arguing about NEP and get more companies 
formed; check up on how many Communists we have who 
can organise successful competition with the capitalists. 

The retreat has come to an end; it is now a matter of 
regrouping our forces. These are the instructions that the 
Congress must pass so as to put an end to fuss and bustle. 
Calm down, do not philosophise; if you do, it will be count- 
ed as a black mark against you. Show by your practical 
efforts that you can work no less efficiently than the capital- 
ists. The capitalists create an economic link with the peas- 
ants in order to amass wealth; you must create a link with 
peasant economy in order to strengthen the economic power 
of our proletarian state. You have the advantage over the 
capitalists in that political power is in your hands; you have 
a number of economic weapons at your command; the only 
trouble is that you cannot make proper use of them. Look at 
things more soberly. Cast off the tinsel, the festive commu- 
nist garments, learn a simple thing simply, and we shall 
beat the private capitalist. We possess political power; we 
possess a host of economic weapons. If we beat capitalism 
and create a link with peasant farming we shall become an 
absolutely invincible power. Then the building of social- 
ism will not be the task of that drop in the ocean, called 
the Communist Party, but the task of the entire mass of the 
working people. Then the rank-and-file peasants will see 
that we are helping them and they will follow our lead. Con- 
sequently, even if the pace is a hundred times slower, it will 
be a million times more certain and more sure. 

It is in this sense that we must speak of halting the 
retreat; and the proper thing to do is, in one way or another, 
to make this slogan a Congress decision. 

In this connection, I should like to deal with the question: 
what is the Bolsheviks' New Economic Policy — evolution or 
tactics? This question has been raised by the Smena Vekh peo- 
ple, who, as you know, are a trend which has arisen among 
Russian emigres it is a socio-political trend led by some 



of the most prominent Constitutional-Democrats, several 
Ministers of the former Kolchak government, people who 
have come to the conclusion that the Soviet government is 
building up the Russian state and therefore should be sup- 
ported. They argue as follows: "What sort of state is the 
Soviet government building? The Communists say they are 
building a communist state and assure us that the new policy 
is a matter of tactics: the Bolsheviks are making use of the 
private capitalists in a difficult situation, but later they 
will get the upper hand. The Bolsheviks can say what they 
like; as a matter of fact it is not tactics but evolution, 
internal regeneration; they will arrive at the ordinary bour- 
geois state, and we must support them. History proceeds 
in devious ways." 

Some of them pretend to be Communists; but there are 
others who are more straightforward, one of these is Ustrya- 
lov. I think he was a Minister in Kolchak's government. 
He does not agree with his colleagues and says: "You can 
think what you like about communism, but I maintain that 
it is not a matter of tactics, but of evolution." I think that 
by being straightforward like this, Ustryalov is rendering 
us a great service. We, and I particularly, because of my 
position, hear a lot of sentimental communist lies; "commu- 
nist fibbing", every day, and sometimes we get sick to death 
of them. But now instead of these "communist fibs" I get a 
copy of Smena Vekh, which says quite plainly: "Things are 
by no means what you imagine them to be. As a matter of 
fact, you are slipping into the ordinary bourgeois morass 
with communist flags inscribed with catchwords stuck all 
over the place." This is very useful. It is not a repetition of 
what we are constantly hearing around us, but the plain class 
truth uttered by the class enemy. It is very useful to read 
this sort of thing; and it was written not because the commu- 
nist state allows you to write some things and not others, 
but because it really is the class truth, bluntly and frankly 
uttered by the class enemy. "I am in favour of supporting 
the Soviet government," says Ustryalov, although he was a 
Constitutional-Democrat, a bourgeois, and supported inter- 
vention. "I am in favour of supporting Soviet power because 
it has taken the road that will lead it to the ordinary bour- 
geois state." 



This is very useful, and I think that we must keep it 
in mind. It is much better for us if the Smena Vekh 
people write in that strain than if some of them pretend to 
be almost Communists, so that from a distance one cannot 
tell whether they believe in God or in the communist revo- 
lution. We must say frankly that such candid enemies are 
useful. We must say frankly that the things Ustryalov speaks 
about are possible. History knows all sorts of metamor- 
phoses. Relying on firmness of convictions, loyalty, and other 
splendid moral qualities is anything but a serious atti- 
tude in politics. A few people may be endowed with splen- 
did moral qualities, but historical issues are decided 
by vast masses, which, if the few do not suit them, may at 
times treat them none too politely. 

There have been many cases of this kind; that is why we 
must welcome this frank utterance of the Smena Vekh people. 
The enemy is speaking the class truth and is pointing to 
the danger that confronts us, and which the enemy is striv- 
ing to make inevitable. Smena Vekh adherents express the 
sentiments of thousands and tens of thousands of bourgeois, 
or of Soviet employees whose function it is to operate our 
New Economic Policy. This is the real and main danger. 
And that is why attention must be concentrated mainly on 
the question: "Who will win?" I have spoken about compe- 
tition. No direct onslaught is being made on us now; nobody 
is clutching us by the throat. True, we have yet to see what 
will happen tomorrow; but today we are not being subjected 
to armed attack. Nevertheless, the fight against capitalist 
society has become a hundred times more fierce and perilous, 
because we are not always able to tell enemies from friends. 

When I spoke about communist competition, what I had 
in mind were not communist sympathies but the develop- 
ment of economic forms and social systems. This is not com- 
petition but, if not the last, then nearly the last, desperate, 
furious, life-and-death struggle between capitalism and com- 

And here we must squarely put the question: Wherein lies 
our strength and what do we lack? We have quite enough 
political power. I hardly think there is anyone here who will 
assert that on such-and-such a practical question, in such- 
and-such a business institution, the Communists, the 



Communist Party, lack sufficient power. There are people who 
think only of this, but these people are hopelessly looking 
backward and cannot understand that one must look ahead. 
The main economic power is in our hands. All the vital 
large enterprises, the railways, etc., are in our hands. The 
number of leased enterprises, although considerable in 
places, is on the whole insignificant; altogether it is infini- 
tesimal compared with the rest. The economic power in the 
hands of the proletarian state of Russia is quite adequate 
to ensure the transition to communism. What then is 
lacking? Obviously, what is lacking is culture among the 
stratum of the Communists who perform administrative 
functions. If we take Moscow with its 4,700 Communists in 
responsible positions, and if we take that huge bureaucratic 
machine, that gigantic heap, we must ask: who is directing 
whom? I doubt very much whether it can truthfully be said 
that the Communists are directing that heap. To tell the truth 
they are not directing, they are being directed. Some- 
thing analogous happened here to what we were told in our 
history lessons when we were children: sometimes one na- 
tion conquers another, the nation that conquers is the con- 
queror and the nation that is vanquished is the conquered 
nation. This is simple and intelligible to all. But what hap- 
pens to the culture of these nations? Here things are not so 
simple. If the conquering nation is more cultured than the 
vanquished nation, the former imposes its culture upon the 
latter; but if the opposite is the case, the vanquished nation 
imposes its culture upon the conqueror. Has not something 
like this happened in the capital of the R.S.F.S.R.? Have the 
4,700 Communists (nearly a whole army division, and all of 
them the very best) come under the influence of an alien 
culture? True, there may be the impression that the van- 
quished have a high level of culture. But that is not the case at 
all. Their culture is miserable, insignificant, but it is still 
at a higher level than ours. Miserable and low as it is, it is 
higher than that of our responsible Communist administra- 
tors, for the latter lack administrative ability. Communists 
who are put at the head of departments — and sometimes 
artful saboteurs deliberately put them in these positions 
in order to use them as a shield — are often fooled. This is a 
very unpleasant admission to make, or, at any rate, not a 



very pleasant one; but I think we must admit it, for at pres- 
ent this is the salient problem. I think that this is the polit- 
ical lesson of the past year; and it is around this that the 
struggle will rage in 1922. 

Will the responsible Communists of the R.S.F.S.R. and 
of the Russian Communist Party realise that they cannot 
administer; that they only imagine they are directing, but 
are, actually, being directed? If they realise this they will 
learn, of course; for this business can be learnt. But one must 
study hard to learn it, and our people are not doing this. 
They scatter orders and decrees right and left, but the result 
is quite different from what they want. 

The competition and rivalry that we have placed on the 
order of the day by proclaiming NEP is a serious business. 
It appears to be going on in all government offices; but as a 
matter of fact it is one more form of the struggle between two 
irreconcilably hostile classes. It is another form of the struggle 
between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. It is a struggle 
that has not yet been brought to a head, and culturally it has 
not yet been resolved even in the central government depart- 
ments in Moscow. Very often the bourgeois officials know 
the business better than our best Communists, who are in- 
vested with authority and have every opportunity, but who 
cannot make the slightest use of their rights and authority. 

I should like to quote a passage from a pamphlet by 
Alexander Todorsky. 88 It was published in Vesyegonsk 
(there is an uyezd town of that name in Tver Gubernia) on the 
first anniversary of the Soviet revolution in Russia, on 
November 7, 1918, a long, long time ago. Evidently this Vesye- 
gonsk comrade is a member of the Party — I read the pam- 
phlet a long time ago and cannot say for certain. He describes 
how he set to work to equip two Soviet factories, and for 
this purpose enlisted the services of two bourgeois. He did 
this in the way these things were done at that time — threat- 
ened to imprison them and to confiscate all their property. 
They were enlisted for the task of restoring the factories. 
We know how the services of the bourgeoisie were enlisted in 
1918 {laughter); so there is no need for me to go into details. 
The methods we are now using to enlist the bourgeoisie 
are different. But here is the conclusion he arrived at: "This 
is only half the job. It is not enough to defeat the bourgeoi- 



sie, to overpower them; they must be compelled to work 
for us." 

Now these are remarkable words. They are remarkable 
for they show that even in the town of Vesyegonsk, even in 
1918, there were people who had a correct understanding of 
the relationship between the victorious proletariat and the 
vanquished bourgeoisie. 

When we rap the exploiters' knuckles, render them innoc- 
uous, overpower them, it is only half the job. In Moscow, 
however, ninety out of a hundred responsible officials imag- 
ine that all we have to do is to overpower, render innocuous 
and rap knuckles. What I have said about the Mensheviks, 
Socialist-Revolutionaries and whiteguards is very often inter- 
preted solely as rendering innocuous, rapping knuckles (and, 
perhaps, not only the knuckles, but some other place) and 
overpowering. But that is only half the job. It was only half 
the job even in 1918, when this was written by the Vesye- 
gonsk comrade; now it is even less than one-fourth. We must 
make these hands work for us, and not have responsible 
Communists at the head of departments, enjoying rank and 
title, but actually swimming with the stream together with 
the bourgeoisie. That is the whole point. 

The idea of building communist society exclusively with 
the hands of the Communists is childish, absolutely child- 
ish. We Communists are but a drop in the ocean, a drop in 
the ocean of the people. We shall be able to lead the people 
along the road we have chosen only if we correctly determine 
it not only from the standpoint of its direction in world 
history. From that point of view we have determined the 
road quite correctly, and this is corroborated by the situa- 
tion in every country. We must also determine it correctly 
for our own native land, for our country. But the direction 
in world history is not the only factor. Other factors are 
whether there will be intervention or not, and whether we 
shall be able to supply the peasants with goods in exchange 
for their grain. The peasants will say: "You are splendid 
fellows; you defended our country. That is why we obeyed 
you. But if you cannot run the show, get out!" Yes, that is 
what the peasants will say. 

We Communists shall be able to direct our economy if 
we succeed in utilising the hands of the bourgeoisie in build- 



ing up this economy of ours and in the meantime learn 
from these bourgeoisie and guide them along the road we 
want them to travel. But when a Communist imagines that 
he knows everything, when he says: "I am a responsible 
Communist, I have beaten enemies far more formidable than 
any salesman. We have fought at the front and have beaten 
far more formidable enemies" — it is this prevailing mood 
that is doing us great harm. 

Rendering the exploiters innocuous, rapping them over 
the knuckles, clipping their wings is the least important 
part of the job. That must be done; and our State Political 
Administration and our courts must do it more vigorously 
than they have up to now. They must remember that they 
are proletarian courts surrounded by enemies the world 
over. This is not difficult; and in the main we have learned 
to do it. Here a certain amount of pressure must be exer- 
cised; but that is easy. 

To win the second part of the victory, i.e., to build com- 
munism with the hands of non-Communists, to acquire the 
practical ability to do what is economically necessary, we 
must establish a link with peasant farming; we must satisfy 
the peasant, so that he will say: "Hard, bitter and painful 
as starvation is, I see a government that is an unusual one, 
is no ordinary one, but is doing something practically use- 
ful, something tangible." We must see to it that the numer- 
ous elements with whom we are co-operating, and who far 
exceed us in number, work in such a way as to enable us to 
supervise them; we must learn to understand this work, 
and direct their hands so that they do something useful 
for communism. This is the key point of the present situa- 
tion; for although individual Communists have understood 
and realised that it is necessary to enlist the non-Party peo- 
ple for this work, the rank-and-file of our Party have not. 
Many circulars have been written, much has been said 
about this, but has anything been accomplished during 
the past year? Nothing. Not five Party committees out of a 
hundred can show practical results. This shows how much we 
lag behind the requirements of the present time; how much 
we are still living in the traditions of 1918 and 1919. Those 
were great years; a great historical task was then accom- 
plished. But if we only look back on those years and do not 



see the task that now confronts us, we shall be doomed, certain- 
ly and absolutely. And the whole point is that we refuse to 
admit it. 

I should now like to give two practical examples to illus- 
trate how we administer. I have said already that it would 
be more correct to take one of the state trusts as an example, 
but I must ask you to excuse me for not being able to apply 
this proper method, for to do so it would have been necessary 
to study the concrete material concerning at least one 
state trust. Unfortunately, I have been unable to do that, 
and so I will take two small examples. One example is the 
accusation of bureaucracy levelled at the People's Com- 
missariat of Foreign Trade by the Moscow Consumers' 
Co-operative Society. The other example I will take from 
the Donets Basin. 

The first example is not quite relevant — I am unable to 
find a better — but it will serve to illustrate my main point. 
As you know from the newspapers, I have been unable to 
deal with affairs directly during these past few months. I 
have not been attending the Council of People's Commissars, 
or the Central Committee. During the short and rare visits 
I made to Moscow I was struck by the desperate and terrible 
complaints levelled at the People's Commissariat of Foreign 
Trade. I have never doubted for a moment that the People's 
Commissariat of Foreign Trade functions badly and that it is 
tied up with red tape. But when the complaints became par- 
ticularly bitter I tried to investigate the matter, to take a 
concrete example and for once get to the bottom of it; to 
ascertain the cause, to ascertain why the machine was not 
working properly. 

The M.C.C.S. wanted to purchase a quantity of canned 
goods. A French citizen appeared and offered some. I do not 
know whether he did it in the interests of the international 
policy and with the knowledge of the leadership of the Entente 
countries, or with the approval of Poincare and the other 
enemies of the Soviet government (I think our historians 
will investigate and make this clear after the Genoa Confer- 
ence), but the fact is that the French bourgeoisie took not 
only a theoretical, but also a practical interest in this busi- 
ness, as a French bourgeois turned up in Moscow with an 
offer of canned goods. Moscow is starving; in the summer 



the situation will be worse; no meat has been delivered, and 
knowing the merits of our People's Commissariat of Rail- 
ways, probably none will be delivered. 

An offer is made to sell canned meat for Soviet currency 
(whether the meat is entirely bad or not will be established 
by a future investigation). What could be simpler? But if 
the matter is approached in the Soviet way, it turns out to 
be not so simple after all. I was unable to go into the matter 
personally, but I ordered an investigation and I have before 
me the report which shows how this celebrated case devel- 
oped. It started with the decision adopted on February 11 
by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Rus- 
sian Communist Party on the report of Comrade Kamenev 
concerning the desirability of purchasing food abroad. Of 
course, how could a Russian citizen decide such a question 
without the consent of the Political Bureau of the Central 
Committee of the Russian Communist Party! Think of it! 
How could 4,700 responsible officials (and this is only accord- 
ing to the census) decide a matter like purchasing food abroad 
without the consent of the Political Bureau of the Cen- 
tral Committee? This would be something supernatural, 
of course. Evidently, Comrade Kamenev understands our 
policy and the realities of our position perfectly well, and 
therefore, he did not place too much reliance on the numer- 
ous responsible officials. He started by taking the bull by 
the horns — if not the bull, at all events the Political Bureau 
— and without any difficulty (I did not hear that there was 
any discussion over the matter) obtained a resolution stat- 
ing: "To call the attention of the People's Commissariat of 
Foreign Trade to the desirability of importing food from 
abroad; the import duties...", etc. The attention of the 
People's Commissariat of Foreign Trade was drawn to this. 
Things started moving. This was on February 11. I remember 
that I had occasion to be in Moscow at the very end of Feb- 
ruary, or about that time, and what did I find? The com- 
plaints, the despairing complaints of the Moscow comrades. 
"What's the matter?" I ask. "There is no way we can buy 
these provisions." "Why?" "Because of the red tape of the 
People's Commissariat of Foreign Trade." I had not been 
taking part in affairs for a long time and I did not know 
that the Political Bureau had adopted a decision on the 



matter. I merely ordered the Executive Secretary of our 
Council to investigate, procure the relevant documents and 
show them to me. The matter was settled when Krasin arrived. 
Kamenev discussed the matter with him; the transaction was 
arranged, and the canned meat was purchased. All's well 
that ends well. 

I have not the least doubt that Kamenev and Krasin can 
come to an understanding and correctly determine the polit- 
ical line desired by the Political Bureau of the Central Com- 
mittee of the Russian Communist Party. If the political line 
on commercial matters were decided by Kamenev and 
Krasin, ours would be the best Soviet Republic in the world. 
But Kamenev, a member of the Political Bureau, and 
Krasin — the latter is busy with diplomatic affairs connected 
with Genoa, affairs which have entailed an enormous, an 
excessive amount of labour — cannot be dragged into every 
transaction, dragged into the business of buying canned 
goods from a French citizen. That is not the way to work. 
This is not new, not economic, and not a policy, but sheer 
mockery. Now I have the report of the investigation into 
this matter. In fact, I have two reports: one, the report of 
the investigation made by Gorbunov, the Executive Secretary 
of the Council of People's Commissars, and his assistant, 
Miroshnikov; and the other, the report of the investigation 
made by the State Political Administration. I do not know 
why the latter interested itself in the matter, and I am not 
quite sure whether it was proper for it to do so; but I will 
not go into that now, because I am afraid this might entail 
another investigation. The important thing is that material 
on the matter has been collected and I now have it before 

On arriving in Moscow at the end of February I heard 
bitter complaints, "We cannot buy the canned goods", 
although in Libau there was a ship with a cargo of canned 
goods, and the owners were prepared to take Soviet currency 
for real canned goods! {Laughter.) If these canned goods 
are not entirely bad (and I now emphasise the "if", because 
I am not sure that I shall not call for another investigation, 
the results of which, however, we shall have to report at 
the next Congress), if, I say, these goods are not entirely 
bad and they have been purchased, I ask: why could not 



this matter have been settled without Kamenev and Krasin? 
From the report I have before me I gather that one respon- 
sible Communist sent another responsible Communist to 
the devil. I also gather from this report that one responsible 
Communist said to another responsible Communist: "From 
now on I shall not talk to you except in the presence of a 
lawyer." Reading this report I recalled the time when I was 
in exile in Siberia, twenty-five years ago, and had occasion 
to act in the capacity of a lawyer. I was not a certified 
lawyer, because, being summarily exiled, I was not allowed 
to practise; but as there was no other lawyer in the region, 
people came and confided their troubles to me. But some- 
times I had the greatest difficulty in understanding what the 
trouble was. A woman would come and, of course, start 
telling me a long story about her relatives, and it was incred- 
ibly difficult to get from her what she really wanted. I 
said to her: "Bring me a copy." She went on with her endless 
and pointless story. When I repeated, "Bring me a copy", 
she left, complaining: "He won't hear what I have to say 
unless I bring a copy." In our colony we had a hearty laugh 
over this copy. I was able, however, to make some progress. 
People came to me, brought copies of the necessary docu- 
ments, and I was able to gather what their trouble was, 
what they complained of, what ailed them. This was twenty- 
five years ago, in Siberia, in a place many hundreds of 
versts from the nearest railway station. 

But why was it necessary, three years after the revolution, 
in the capital of the Soviet Republic, to have two investiga- 
tions, the intervention of Kamenev and Krasin and the in- 
structions of the Political Bureau to purchase canned goods? 
What was lacking? Political power? No. The money was forth- 
coming, so they had economic as well as political power. 
All the necessary institutions were available. What was 
lacking, then? Culture. Ninety-nine out of every hundred 
officials of the M.C.C.S. — against whom I have no complaint 
to make whatever, and whom I regard as excellent Com- 
munists — and of the Commissariat of Foreign Trade lack 
culture. They were unable to approach the matter in a cultured 

When I first heard of the matter I sent the following 
written proposal to the Central Committee: "All the officials 



concerned of the Moscow government departments — except 
the members of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, 
who, as you know, enjoy immunity — should be put in the 
worst prison in Moscow for six hours, and those of the Peo- 
ple's Commissariat of Foreign Trade for thirty-six hours." 
And then it turned out that no one could say who the cul- 
prits were (laughter), and from what I have told you it is 
evident that the culprits will never be discovered. It is 
simply the usual inability of the Russian intellectuals to 
get things done — inefficiency and slovenliness. First they 
rush at a job, do a little bit, and then think about it, and 
when nothing comes of it, they run to complain to Kamenev 
and want the matter to be brought before the Political 
Bureau. Of course, all difficult state problems should be 
brought before the Political Bureau — I shall have to say 
something about that later on — but one should think first 
and then act. If you want to bring up a case, submit the ap- 
propriate documents. First send a telegram, and in Moscow 
we also have telephones; send a telephone message to the 
competent department and a copy to Tsyurupa saying: I 
regard the transaction as urgent and will take proceedings 
against anyone guilty of red tape." One must think of this 
elementary culture, one must approach things in a thought- 
ful manner. If the business is not settled in the course of a 
few minutes, by telephone, collect the documents and say: 
"If you start any of your red tape I shall have you clapped in 
gaol." But not a moment's thought is given to the matter, 
there is no preparation, the usual bustle, several commis- 
sions, everybody is tired out, exhausted, run down, and things 
begin to move only when Kamenev is put in touch with Kra- 
sin. All this is typical of what goes on not only in the capi- 
tal, Moscow, but also in the other capitals, in the capitals 
of all independent republics and regions. And the same thing, 
even a hundred times worse, constantly goes on in the pro- 
vincial towns. 

In our struggle we must remember that Communists must 
be able to reason. They may be perfectly familiar with the 
revolutionary struggle and with the state of the revolution- 
ary movement all over the world; but if we are to extricate 
ourselves from desperate poverty and want we need culture, 
integrity and an ability to reason. Many lack these quali- 



ties. It would be unfair to say that the responsible Commu- 
nists do not fulfil their functions conscientiously. The over- 
whelming majority of them, ninety-nine out of a hundred, 
are not only conscientious — they proved their devotion to 
the revolution under the most difficult conditions before 
the fall of tsarism and after the revolution; they were ready 
to lay down their lives. Therefore, it would be radically wrong 
to attribute the trouble to lack of conscientiousness. We 
need a cultured approach to the simplest affairs of state. We 
must all understand that this is a matter of state, a business 
matter; and if obstacles arise we must be able to overcome 
them and take proceedings against those who are guilty of 
red tape. We have proletarian courts in Moscow; they must 
bring to account the persons who are to blame for the fail- 
ure to effect the purchase of several tens of thousands of 
poods of canned food. I think the proletarian courts will 
be able to punish the guilty; but in order to punish, the cul- 
prits must be found. I assure you that in this case no cul- 
prits will be found. I want you all to look into this business: 
no one is guilty; all we see is a lot of fuss and bustle and 
nonsense. Nobody has the ability to approach the business 
properly; nobody understands that affairs of state must not 
be tackled in this way. And all the whiteguards and sabo- 
teurs take advantage of this. At one time we waged a fierce 
struggle against the saboteurs ; that struggle confronts us 
even now. There are saboteurs today, of course, and they 
must be fought. But can we fight them when the position is 
as I have just described it? This is worse than any sabotage. 
The saboteur could wish for nothing better than that two 
Communists should argue over the question of when to 
appeal to the Political Bureau for instructions on principles in 
buying food; and of course he would soon slip in between 
them and egg them on. If any intelligent saboteur were to 
stand behind these Communists, or behind each of them in 
turn, and encourage them, that would be the end. The matter 
would be doomed for ever. Who is to blame? Nobody, 
because two responsible Communists, devoted revolution- 
aries, are arguing over last year's snow; are arguing over the 
question of when to appeal to the Political Bureau for in- 
structions on principles in buying food. 

That is how the matter stands and that is the difficulty 



that confronts us. Any salesman trained in a large capital- 
ist enterprise knows how to settle a matter like that; but 
ninety-nine responsible Communists out of a hundred do 
not. And they refuse to understand that they do not know 
how and that they must learn the ABC of this business. 
Unless we realise this, unless we sit down in the preparatory 
class again, we shall never be able to solve the economic 
problem that now lies at the basis of our entire policy. 

The other example I wanted to give you is that of the 
Donets Basin. You know that this is the centre, the real 
basis of our entire economy. It will be utterly impossible 
to restore large-scale industry in Russia, to really build 
socialism — for it can only be built on the basis of large- 
scale industry — unless we restore the Donets Basin and bring 
it up to the proper level. The Central Committee is closely 
watching developments there. 

As regards this region there was no unjustified, ridicu- 
lous or absurd raising of minor questions in the Political 
Bureau; real, absolutely urgent business was discussed. 

The Central Committee ought to see to it that in such real 
centres, bases and foundations of our entire economy, work 
is carried on in a real business-like manner. At the head of 
the Central Coal Industry Board we had not only undoubted- 
ly devoted, but really educated and very capable people. 
I should not be wrong even if I said talented people. That is 
why the Central Committee has concentrated its attention on 
it. The Ukraine is an independent republic. That is quite 
all right. But in Party matters it sometimes — what is the 
politest way of saying it? — takes a roundabout course, and 
we shall have to get at them. For the people in charge there 
are sly, and their Central Committee I shall not say deceives 
us, but somehow edges away from us. To obtain a general 
view of the whole business, we discussed it in the Central 
Committee here and discovered that friction and disagree- 
ment exist. There is a Commission for the Utilisation of 
Small Mines there and, of course, severe friction between it 
and the Central Coal Industry Board. Still we, the Central 
Committee, have a certain amount of experience and we unan- 
imously decided not to remove the leading people, but if 
there was any friction it was to be reported to us, down 
to the smallest detail. For since we have not only devoted but 



capable people in the region, we must back them up, 
and enable them to complete their training, assuming that 
they have not done so. In the end, a Party Congress was 
held in the Ukraine — I do not know what happened there; 
all sorts of things happened. I asked for information from 
the Ukrainian comrades, and I asked Comrade Orjonikidze 
particularly — and the Central Committee did the same — 
to go down there and ascertain what had happened. Evident- 
ly, there was some intrigue and an awful mess, which the 
Commission on Party History would not be able to clear 
up in ten years should it undertake to do so. But the 
upshot of it all was that contrary to the unanimous instruc- 
tions of the Central Committee, this group was superseded 
by another group. What was the matter? In the main, not- 
withstanding all its good qualities, a section of the group 
made a mistake. They were overzealous in their methods of 
administration. There we have to deal with workers. Very 
often the word "workers" is taken to mean the factory prole- 
tariat. But it does not mean that at all. During the war people 
who were by no means proletarians went into the factories; 
they went into the factories to dodge the war. Are the social 
and economic conditions in our country today such as to in- 
duce real proletarians to go into the factories? No. It would 
be true according to Marx; but Marx did not write about 
Russia; he wrote about capitalism as a whole, beginning 
with the fifteenth century. It held true over a period of six 
hundred years, but it is not true for present-day Russia. 
Very often those who go into the factories are not proletar- 
ians; they are casual elements of every description. 

The task is to learn to organise the work properly, not to 
lag behind, to remove friction in time, not to separate admin- 
istration from politics. For our administration and our 
politics rest on the ability of the entire vanguard to main- 
tain contact with the entire mass of the proletariat and with 
the entire mass of the peasantry. If anybody forgets these 
cogs and becomes wholly absorbed in administration, the 
result will be a disastrous one. The mistake the Donets Ba- 
sin officials made is insignificant compared with other 
mistakes of ours, but this example is a typical one. The Cen- 
tral Committee unanimously ordered: "Allow this group to 
remain; bring all conflicts, even minor ones, before the 



Central Committee, for the Donets Basin is not an ordinary 
district, but a vital one, without which socialist construc- 
tion would simply remain a pious wish." But all our political 
power, all the authority of the Central Committee proved of 
no avail. 

This time there was a mistake in administration, of 
course; in addition, a host of other mistakes were made. 

This instance shows that it is not a matter of possessing 
political power, but of administrative ability, the ability 
to put the right man in the right place, the ability to avoid 
petty conflicts, so that state economic work may be carried 
on without interruption. This is what we lack; this is the 
root of the mistake. 

I think that in discussing our revolution and weighing 
up its prospects, we must carefully single out the problems 
which the revolution has solved completely and which have 
irrevocably gone down in history as an epoch-making depar- 
ture from capitalism. Our revolution has such solutions to 
its credit. Let the Mensheviks and Otto Bauer of the Two- 
and-a-Half International shout: "Theirs is a bourgeois revo- 
lution." We say that our task was to consummate the bour- 
geois revolution. As a certain whiteguard newspaper ex- 
pressed it: Dung had accumulated in our state institutions for 
four hundred years; but we cleaned it all out in four years. 
This is the great service we rendered. What have the 
Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries done? Nothing. 
The dung of medievalism has not been cleared out either in our 
country, or even in advanced, enlightened Germany. Yet 
they reproach us for doing what stands very much to our cred- 
it. The fact that we have consummated the revolution is an 
achievement that can never be expunged from our record. 

War is now in the air. The trade unions, for example, 
the reformist trade unions, are passing resolutions against 
war and are threatening to call strikes in opposition to war. 
Recently, if I am not mistaken, I read a report in the news- 
papers to the effect that a certain very good Communist 
delivered an anti-war speech in the French Chamber of 
Deputies in the course of which he stated that the workers 
would prefer to rise in revolt rather than go to war. This 
question cannot be formulated in the way we formulated it 
in 1912, when the Basle Manifesto was issued. The Russian 



revolution alone has shown how it is possible to emerge 
from war, and what effort this entails. It showed what emerg- 
ing from a reactionary war by revolutionary methods means. 
Reactionary imperialist wars are inevitable in all parts of 
the world; and in solving problems of this sort mankind 
cannot and will not forget that tens of millions were slaugh- 
tered then, and will be slaughtered again if war breaks out. 
We are living in the twentieth century, and the only nation 
that emerged from a reactionary war by revolutionary 
methods not for the benefit of a particular government, but 
by overthrowing it, was the Russian nation, and it was the 
Russian revolution that extricated it. What has been won 
by the Russian revolution is irrevocable. No power on earth 
can erase that; nor can any power on earth erase the fact 
that the Soviet state has been created. This is a historic victo- 
ry. For hundreds of years states have been built according 
to the bourgeois model, and for the first time a non-bourgeois 
form of state has been discovered. Our machinery of govern- 
ment may be faulty, but it is said that the first steam engine 
that was invented was also faulty. No one even knows 
whether it worked or not, but that is not the important point; 
the important point is that it was invented. Even assuming 
that the first steam engine was of no use, the fact is that 
we now have steam engines. Even if our machinery of govern- 
ment is very faulty, the fact remains that it has been 
created; the greatest invention in history has been made; a 
proletarian type of state has been created. Therefore, let all 
Europe, let thousands of bourgeois newspapers broadcast 
news about the horrors and poverty that prevail in our coun- 
try, about suffering being the sole lot of the working people 
in our country; the workers all over the world are still drawn 
towards the Soviet state. These are the great and irrevocable 
gains that we have achieved. But for us, members of 
the Communist Party, this meant only opening the door. 
We are now confronted with the task of laying the founda- 
tions of socialist economy. Has this been done? No, it has 
not. We still lack the socialist foundation. Those Commu- 
nists who imagine that we have it are greatly mistaken. The 
whole point is to distinguish firmly, clearly and dispassion- 
ately what constitutes the historic service rendered by the 
Russian revolution from what we do very badly, from what 



has not yet been created, and what we shall have to redo 
many times yet. 

Political events are always very confused and complicat- 
ed. They can be compared with a chain. To hold the whole 
chain you must grasp the main link. Not a link chosen at ran- 
dom. What was the central event in 1917? Withdrawal 
from the war. The entire nation demanded this, and it over- 
shadowed everything. Revolutionary Russia accomplished 
this withdrawal from the war. It cost tremendous effort; 
but the major demand of the people was satisfied, and that 
brought us victory for many years. The people realised, the 
peasants saw, every soldier returning from the front under- 
stood perfectly well that the Soviet government was a more 
democratic government, one that stood closer to the work- 
ing people. No matter how many outrageous and absurd 
things we may have done in other spheres, the fact that we 
realised what the main task was proved that everything was 

What was the key feature of 1919 and 1920? Military 
resistance. The all-powerful Entente was marching against 
us, was at our throats. No propaganda was required there. 
Every non-Party peasant understood what was going on. 
The landowners were coming back. The Communists knew 
how to fight them. That is why, taken in the mass, the 
peasants followed the lead of the Communists; that is 
why we were victorious. 

In 1921, the key feature was an orderly retreat. This 
required stern discipline. The Workers' Opposition said: 
"You are underrating the workers; the workers should 
display greater initiative." But initiative had to be dis- 
played then by retreating in good order and by main- 
taining strict discipline. Anyone who introduced an under- 
tone of panic or insubordination would have doomed the 
revolution to defeat; for there is nothing more difficult 
than retreating with people who have been accustomed to 
victory, who are imbued with revolutionary views and 
ideals, and who, in their hearts, regard every retreat as a 
disgraceful matter. The greatest danger was the violation of 
good order, and the greatest task was to maintain good order. 

And what is the key feature now? The key feature now — 
and I would like to sum up my report with this — is not that 



we have changed our line of policy. An incredible lot of 
nonsense is being talked about this in connection with NEP. 
It is all hot air, pernicious twaddle. In connection 
with NEP some people are beginning to fuss around, pro- 
posing to reorganise our government departments and to 
form new ones. All this is pernicious twaddle. In the present 
situation the key feature is people, the proper choice of 
people. A revolutionary who is accustomed to struggle 
against petty reformists and uplift educators finds it hard 
to understand this. Soberly weighed up, the political 
conclusion to be drawn from the present situation is that 
we have advanced so far that we cannot hold all the posi- 
tions; and we need not hold them all. 

Internationally our position has improved vastly these 
last few years. The Soviet type of state is our achievement; 
it is a step forward in human progress; and the information 
the Communist International receives from every country 
every day corroborates this. Nobody has the slightest 
doubt about that. From the point of view of practical 
work, however, the position is that unless the Communists 
render the masses of the peasants practical assistance they 
will lose their support. Passing laws, passing better decrees, 
etc., is not now the main object of our attention. There 
was a time when the passing of decrees was a form of pro- 
paganda. People used to laugh at us and say that the 
Bolsheviks do not realise that their decrees are not being 
carried out; the entire whiteguard press was full of jeers 
on that score. But at that period this passing of decrees 
was quite justified. We Bolsheviks had just taken power, 
and we said to the peasant, to the worker: "Here is a 
decree; this is how we would like to have the state admin- 
istered. Try it!" From the very outset we gave the ordin- 
ary workers and peasants an idea of our policy in the 
form of decrees. The result was the enormous confidence 
we enjoyed and now enjoy among the masses of the people. 
This was an essential period at the beginning of the revo- 
lution; without it we should not have risen on the crest 
of the revolutionary wave; we should have wallowed in 
its trough. Without it we should not have won the con- 
fidence of all the workers and peasants who wanted to 
build their lives on new lines. But this period has passed, 



and we refuse to understand this. Now the peasants and 
workers will laugh at us if we order this or that govern- 
ment department to be formed or reorganised. The ordinary 
workers and peasants will display no interest in this now, 
and they will be right, because this is not the central task 
today. This is not the sort of thing with which we Com- 
munists should now go to the people. Although we who 
are engaged in government departments are always over- 
whelmed with so many petty affairs, this is not the link that 
we must grasp, this is not the key feature. The key feature 
is that we have not got the right men in the right places; that 
responsible Communists who acquitted themselves mag- 
nificently during the revolution have been given commer- 
cial and industrial functions about which they know noth- 
ing; and they prevent us from seeing the truth, for rogues 
and rascals hide magnificently behind their backs. The 
trouble is that we have no such thing as practical control 
of how things have been done. This is a prosaic job, a small 
job; these are petty affairs. But after the greatest political 
change in history, bearing in mind that for a time we shall 
have to live in the midst of the capitalist system, the key 
feature now is not politics in the narrow sense of the word 
(what we read in the newspapers is just political fireworks; 
there is nothing socialist in it at all), the key feature is 
not resolutions, not departments and not reorganisation. 
As long as these things are necessary we shall do them, but 
don't go to the people with them. Choose the proper men 
and introduce practical control. That is what the people 
will appreciate. 

In the sea of people we are after all but a drop in the 
ocean, and we can administer only when we express cor- 
rectly what the people are conscious of. Unless we do this 
the Communist Party will not lead the proletariat, the 
proletariat will not lead the masses, and the whole machine 
will collapse. The chief thing the people, all the working 
people, want today is nothing but help in their desperate 
hunger and need; they want to be shown that the improve- 
ment needed by the peasants is really taking place in the 
form they are accustomed to. The peasant knows and is 
accustomed to the market and trade. We were unable to 
introduce direct communist distribution. We lacked the 



factories and their equipment for this. That being the case, 
we must provide the peasants with what they need through 
the medium of trade, and provide it as well as the capi- 
talist did, otherwise the people will not tolerate such 
an administration. This is the key to the situation; and 
unless something unexpected arises, this, given three 
conditions, should be the central feature of our activities 
in 1922. 

The first condition is that there shall be no intervention. 
We are doing all we can in the diplomatic field to avoid 
it; nevertheless, it may occur any day. We must really 
be on the alert, and we must agree to make certain big 
sacrifices for the sake of the Red Army, within definite 
limits, of course. We are confronted by the entire bourgeois 
world, which is only seeking a way in which to strangle 
us. Our Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries are 
nothing more nor less than the agents of this bourgeoisie. 
Such is their political status. 

The second condition is that the financial crisis shall 
not be too severe. The crisis is approaching. You will 
hear about that when we discuss financial policy. If it is 
too severe and rigorous we shall have to revise many things 
again and concentrate all efforts on one thing. If it is not 
too severe it may even be useful; it will give the Commu- 
nists in all the state trusts a good shaking; only we must 
not forget to do it. The financial crisis will shake up govern- 
ment departments and industrial enterprises, and those 
that are not equal to their task will be the first to burst; 
only we must take care that all the blame for this is not 
thrown on the specialists while the responsible Commu- 
nists are praised for being very good fellows who have 
fought at the fronts and have always worked well. Thus, 
if the financial crisis is not too severe we can derive some 
benefit from it and comb the ranks of the responsible Com- 
munists engaged in the business departments not in the 
way the Central Control Commission and the Central Veri- 
fication Commission 89 comb them, but very thoroughly. 

The third condition is that we shall make no political 
mistakes in this period. Of course, if we do make political 
mistakes all our work of economic construction will be 
disrupted and we shall land ourselves in controversies 



about how to rectify them and what direction to pursue. 
But if we make no sad mistakes, the key feature in the near 
future will be not decrees and politics in the narrow sense 
of the word, not departments and their organisation — the 
responsible Communists and the Soviet institutions will 
deal with these things whenever necessary — the main thing 
in all our activities will be choosing the right people and 
making sure that decisions are carried out. If, in this 
respect, we learn something practical, if we do something 
practically useful, we shall again overcome all difficul- 

In conclusion I must mention the practical side of the 
question of our Soviet institutions, the higher govern- 
ment bodies and the Party's relation to them. The relations 
between the Party and the Soviet government bodies are 
not what they ought to be. On this point we are quite 
unanimous. I have given one example of how minor matters 
are dragged before the Political Bureau. It is extremely 
difficult to get out of this by formal means, for there is 
only one governing party in our country; and a member 
of the Party cannot be prohibited from lodging complaints. 
That is why everything that comes up on the Council of 
People's Commissars is dragged before the Political Bureau. 
I, too, am greatly to blame for this, for to a large extent 
contact between the Council of People's Commissars and 
the Political Bureau was maintained through me. When 
I was obliged to retire from work it was found that the 
two wheels were not working in unison and Kamenev had 
to bear a treble load to maintain this contact. Inasmuch 
as it is barely probable that I shall return to work in the 
near future, all hope devolves on the fact that there are 
two other deputies — Comrade Tsyurupa, who has been 
cleansed by the Germans, and Comrade Rykov, whom they 
have splendidly cleansed. It seems that even Wilhelm, 
the German Emperor, has stood us in good stead — I never 
expected it. He had a surgeon, who happened to be the 
doctor treating Comrade Rykov, and he removed his worst 
part, keeping it in Germany, and left the best part intact, 
sending that part of Comrade Rykov thoroughly cleansed 
to us. If that method continues to be used it will be a really 
good thing. 



Joking aside, a word or two about the main instructions. 
On this point there is complete unanimity on the Central 
Committee, and I hope that the Congress will pay the 
closest attention to it and endorse the instructions that 
the Political Bureau and the Central Committee be relieved 
of minor matters, and that more should be shifted to 
the responsible officials. The People's Commissars must be 
responsible for their work and should not bring these 
matters up first on the Council of People's Commissars and 
then on the Political Bureau. Formally, we cannot abolish 
the right to lodge complaints with the Central Committee, 
for our Party is the only governing party in the country. 
But we must put a stop to the habit of bringing every petty 
matter before the Central Committee; we must raise the 
prestige of the Council of People's Commissars. The Com- 
missars and not the Deputy Commissars must mainly 
attend the meetings of the Council. The functions of the 
Council must be changed in the direction in which I have 
not succeeded in changing them during the past year, 
that is, it must pay much more attention to executive 
control. We shall have two more deputies — Rykov and 
Tsyurupa. When Rykov was in the Extraordinary Autho- 
rised Council of Workers' and Peasants' Defence for the 
Supply of the Red Army and Navy he tightened things 
up and the work went well. Tsyurupa organised one of 
the most efficient People's Commissariats. If together 
they make the maximum effort to improve the People's 
Commissariats in the sense of efficiency and responsibil- 
ity, we shall make some, even if a little, progress here. 
We have eighteen People's Commissariats of which not 
less than fifteen are of no use at all — efficient People's 
Commissars cannot be found everywhere, and I certainly 
hope that people give this more of their attention. Comrade 
Rykov must be a member, of the Central Committee Bureau 
and of the Presidium of the All-Russia Central Executive 
Committee because there must be a tie-up between these 
two bodies, for without this tie-up the main wheels some- 
times spin in the air. 

In this connection, we must see to it that the number of 
commissions of the Council of People's Commissars and of 
the Council of Labour and Defence is reduced. These bodies 



must know and settle their own affairs and not split up 
into an infinite number of commissions. A few days ago 
the commissions were overhauled. It was found that there 
were one hundred and twenty of them. How many were 
necessary? Sixteen. And this is not the first cut. Instead 
of accepting responsibility for their work, preparing a 
decision for the Council of People's Commissars and know- 
ing that they bear responsibility for this decision, there 
is a tendency to take shelter behind commissions. The devil 
himself would lose his way in this maze of commissions. 
Nobody knows what is going on, who is responsible; every- 
thing is mixed up, and finally a decision is passed for 
which everybody is held responsible. 

In this connection, reference must be made to the need 
for extending and developing the autonomy and activities 
of the regional economic conferences. The administrative 
division of Russia has now been drawn up on scientific 
lines; the economic and climatic conditions, the way of life, the 
conditions of obtaining fuel, of local industry, etc., have all 
been taken into account. On the basis of this division, 
district and regional economic conferences have been 
instituted. Changes may be made here and there, of course, 
but the prestige of these economic conferences must be 

Then we must see to it that the All-Russia Central Exec- 
utive Committee works more energetically, meets in session 
more regularly, and for longer periods. The sessions of 
the All-Russia Central Executive Committee should dis- 
cuss bills which sometimes are hastily brought before 
the Council of People's Commissars when there is no 
need to do so. It would be better to postpone such bills 
and give the local workers an opportunity to study them 
carefully. Stricter demands should be made upon those 
who draft the bills. This is not done. 

If the sessions of the All-Russia Central Executive Com- 
mittee last longer, they can split up into sections and 
subcommissions, and thus will be able to verify the work more 
strictly and strive to achieve what in my opinion is the 
key, the quintessence of the present political situation: 
to concentrate attention on choosing the right people and 
on verifying how decisions are carried out. 



It must be admitted, and we must not be afraid to admit, 
that in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the responsible 
Communists are not in the jobs they are now fit for; that 
they are unable to perform their duties, and that they 
must sit down to learn. If this is admitted, and since we 
have the opportunity to learn — judging by the general 
international situation we shall have time to do so — we 
must do it, come what may. (Stormy applause.) 





(Applause.) First of all I shall have to devote a little 
time to criticising the remarks made here by Comrades 
Preobrazhensky and Osinsky. I think that on the most 
important and fundamental question Comrades Preobra- 
zhensky and Osinsky were wide of the mark, and their own 
statements have proved their line of policy to be wrong. 

Comrade Preobrazhensky spoke about capitalism and 
said that we ought to open a general discussion on our 
Programme. I think that this would be the most unpro- 
ductive and unjustified waste of time. 

First of all about state capitalism. 

"State capitalism is capitalism," said Preobrazhensky, 
"and that is the only way it can and should be interpreted." 
I say that that is pure scholasticism. Up to now nobody 
could have written a book about this sort of capitalism, 
because this is the first time in human history that we see 
anything like it. All the more or less intelligible books 
about state capitalism that have appeared up to now 
were written under conditions and in a situation where 
state capitalism was capitalism. Now things are different; 
and neither Marx nor the Marxists could foresee this. We 
must not look to the past. When you write history, you 
will write it magnificently; but when you write a text- 
book, you will say: State capitalism is the most unexpected 
and absolutely unforeseen form of capitalism — for nobody 
could foresee that the proletariat would achieve power in 
one of the least developed countries, and would first try 



to organise large-scale production and distribution for 
the peasantry and then, finding that it could not cope 
with the task owing to the low standard of culture, would 
enlist the services of capitalism. Nobody ever foresaw 
this; but it is an incontrovertible fact. 

Comrade Larin, in his speech, revealed that he has a 
very vague conception of the New Economic Policy and 
of how it should be handled. 

Not a single serious objection has been raised to our 
adoption of the New Economic Policy. The proletariat is 
not afraid to admit that certain things in the revolution 
went off magnificently, and that others went awry. All the 
revolutionary parties that have perished so far, perished 
because they became conceited, because they failed to see 
the source of their strength and feared to discuss their 
weaknesses. We, however, shall not perish, because we are 
not afraid to discuss our weaknesses and will learn to over- 
come them. (Applause.) The capitalism that we have 
permitted is essential. If it is ugly and bad, we shall 
be able to rectify it, because power is in our hands and we 
have nothing to fear. Everybody admits this, and so it is 
ridiculous to confuse this with panic-mongering. If we were 
afraid to admit this our doom would be sealed. But the fact 
that we will learn and want to learn this is proved by the 
experience of the past three, four, five years, during which 
we learnt more complicated matters in a shorter period. 
True, then we were driven by necessity. During the war 
we were driven very hard; I think there was neither a front 
nor a campaign in which we were not hard pressed. The 
enemy came within a hundred versts of Moscow; was 
approaching Orel; was within five versts of Petrograd. That 
was the time we really woke up and began to learn and to 
put the lessons we had learnt into practice, and we drove 
out the enemy. 

The position now is that we have to deal with an enemy 
in mundane economics, and this is a thousand times more 
difficult. The controversies over state capitalism that 
have been raging in our literature up to now could at best 
be included in textbooks on history. I do not in the least 
deny that textbooks are useful, and recently I wrote that 
it would be far better if our authors devoted less attention 



to newspapers and political twaddle and wrote textbooks, 
as many of them, including Comrade Larin, could do splen- 
didly. His talent would prove most useful on work of this 
kind and we would solve the problem that Comrade Trot- 
sky emphasised so well when he said that the main task 
at the present time is to train the younger generation, but 
we have nothing to train them with. Indeed, from what can 
the younger generation learn the social sciences? From the 
old bourgeois junk. This is disgraceful! And this is at a 
time when we have hundreds of Marxist authors who could 
write textbooks on all social problems, but do not do so 
because their minds are taken up with other things. 

As regards state capitalism, we ought to know what 
should be the slogan for agitation and propaganda, what 
must be explained, what we must get everyone to under- 
stand practically. And that is that the state capitalism 
that we have now is not the state capitalism that the Ger- 
mans wrote about. It is capitalism that we ourselves have 
permitted. Is that true or not? Everybody knows that it is true! 

At a congress of Communists we passed a decision that 
state capitalism would be permitted by the proletarian 
state, and we are the state. If we did wrong we are to blame 
and it is no use shifting the blame to somebody else! We 
must learn, we must see to it that in a proletarian country 
state capitalism cannot and does not go beyond the frame- 
work and conditions delineated for it by the proletariat, 
beyond conditions that benefit the proletariat. It was 
quite rightly pointed out here that we had to give consid- 
eration to the peasants as a mass, and enable them to 
trade freely. Every intelligent worker appreciates that this 
is necessary for the proletarian dictatorship, and only 
Comrade Shlyapnikov can joke about and mock it. This is 
appreciated by everybody and has been chewed over a 
thousand times, but you simply refuse to understand it. 
If under present conditions the peasant must have freedom 
to trade within certain limits, we must give it to him, but 
this does not mean that we are permitting trade in raw 
brandy. We shall punish people for that sort of trade. It 
does not mean that we are permitting the sale of political 
literature called Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary 
and financed by the capitalists of the whole world. 



That is what I meant when I mentioned machine-guns, 
and Comrade Shlyapnikov should have understood it. 
What he says is nonsensical! 

You will not frighten anybody and you will not win any 
sympathy! (Applause. Laughter.) 

Poor Shlyapnikov! Lenin had planned to use machine- 
guns against him! 

What I had in mind was Party disciplinary measures, 
and not machine-guns as such. When we talk about machine- 
guns we have in mind the people in this country whom 
we call Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries and who 
argue as follows: "You say you are retreating towards 
capitalism, and we say the same thing; we agree with you!" 
We are constantly hearing this sort of thing; and abroad a 
gigantic propaganda campaign is being conducted to prove 
that while we Bolsheviks are keeping the Mensheviks and 
Socialist-Revolutionaries in prison, we ourselves are per- 
mitting capitalism. True, we are permitting capitalism, 
but within the limits that the peasants need. This is essen- 
tial! Without it the peasants could not exist and continue 
with their husbandry. But we maintain that the Russian 
peasants can do very well without Socialist-Revolutionary 
and Menshevik propaganda. To those who assert the con- 
trary we say: We would rather perish to the last man than 
yield to you! And our courts must understand all this. 
Now that we are passing from the Cheka to state-political 
courts we must say at this Congress that there is no such 
thing as above-class courts. Our courts must be elected, 
proletarian courts; and they must know what it is that 
we are permitting. They must clearly understand what 
state capitalism is. 

This is the political slogan of the day and not a contro- 
versy about what the German professors meant by state 
capitalism and what we mean by it. We have gone through 
a great deal since then, and it is altogether unseemly for 
us to look back. 

The degree to which Comrade Preobrazhensky goes off 
the political track is shown by what he said about an 
Economic Bureau and about the Programme. 90 What a mag- 
nificent thing our Programme is, but how frightfully we 
garble it! How is that possible? Because some people read 



it word for word and line by line, and beyond that they 
will not look. They pick out a passage and say: "There was 
a controversy over this." Some say that the line of the 
Workers' Faculties and of the Communist local cells was 
correct, but the line of those who said: "Go easy, treat 
those specialists more carefully", was wrong. True, the 
Communist cells are splendid and so are the Workers' 
Faculties, but they are not infallible; they are not 

Yes, the Communist cells are the representatives of our 
Party, and the Workers' Faculties are the representatives 
of our class; but the fact that they make mistakes and 
that we must correct them is an elementary truism. How 
they are to be corrected I do not know, because I did not 
attend the meetings of the Central Committee at which 
this question was discussed. But I do know that the Work- 
ers' Faculties and the Communist cells overdo things in 
the line they have taken against the professors. After our 
Central Committee has examined this question in all its 
aspects and has decided that things have been overdone 
and that a more cautious line must be adopted towards 
these professors, who are the representatives of an alien 
class, Comrade Preobrazhensky comes along, takes out the 
Programme and says: "No political concessions to this 
stratum; that would be an infringement of the Programme." 

If we start guiding the Party in this way we shall 
inevitably go under. And this is not because Comrade Pre- 
obrazhensky has wrong ideas about politics in general, 
a but because he approaches everything from the angle of 
what is his strongest point; he is a theoretician whose 
mind is restricted by what is customary and usual; he is a 
propagandist whose mind is taken up with measures direct- 
ed to the purpose of propaganda. Everybody is aware of 
and appreciates this strong point of his, but when he 
approaches things from the political and administrative angle 
the result is simply monstrous. Set up an Economic Bureau?! 
But everybody has just said, everybody has agreed, and we 
have complete unanimity on the point (and this is very 
important, for action depends upon this unity) that the 
Party machinery must be separated from the Soviet govern- 
ment machinery. 



It is terribly difficult to do this; we lack the men! But 
Preobrazhensky comes along and airily says that Stalin 
has jobs in two Commissariats. 91 Who among us has not 
sinned in this way? Who has not undertaken several duties 
at once? And how can we do otherwise? What can we do to 
preserve the present situation in the People's Commissariat 
of Nationalities; to handle all the Turkestan, Caucasian, 
and other questions? These are all political questions! 
They have to be settled. These are questions that have 
engaged the attention of European states for hundreds of 
years, and only an infinitesimal number of them have 
been settled in democratic republics. We are settling them; 
and we need a man to whom the representatives of any of 
these nations can go and discuss their difficulties in all 
detail. Where can we find such a man? I don't think Com- 
rade Preobrazhensky could suggest any better candidate 
than Comrade Stalin. 

The same thing applies to the Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection. This is a vast business; but to be able to handle 
investigations we must have at the head of it a man who 
enjoys high prestige, otherwise we shall become sub- 
merged in and overwhelmed by petty intrigue. 

Comrade Preobrazhensky proposes that an Economic 
Bureau should be set up; but if we do that all our talk 
about separating Party activities from Soviet government 
activities will be just hot air. Comrade Preobrazhensky 
proposes what appears to be a splendid scheme: on the one 
hand the Political Bureau, then the Economic Bureau, and 
then the Organising Bureau. But all this is very fine only 
on paper; in actual practice it is ridiculous! I positively 
cannot understand how, after Soviet power has been in 
existence for five years, a man who has an intuition for 
vital politics can make and insist upon such a proposal. 

What is the difference between the Organising Bureau 
and the Political Bureau? You cannot draw a hard and 
fast line between a political question and an organisation 
question. Any political question may be an organisation 
question, and vice versa. Only after established practice 
had shown that questions could be transferred from the 
Organising Bureau to the Political Bureau was it possible 
to organise the work of the Central Committee properly. 



Has anybody ever proposed anything different? No, 
because no other rational solution can be proposed. Polit- 
ical questions cannot be mechanically separated from 
organisation questions. Politics are conducted by definite 
people; but if other people are going to draft documents, 
nothing will come of it. 

You know perfectly well that there have been revolu- 
tions in which parliamentary assemblies drafted documents 
which were put into effect by people from another class. 
This led to friction, and they were kicked out. Organisation 
questions cannot be separated from politics. Politics are 
concentrated economics. 

Comrade Kosior complained about the Central Committee 
and mentioned names (I have written them all down). 
I am not personally familiar with the subject, and so I can- 
not answer; but if you, as the Party Congress, are interested, 
it is your duty to elect a commission to investigate every 
case and subject Kosior and the persons concerned to exam- 
ination by third degree. The whole point here is that if 
the Central Committee is deprived of the right to distrib- 
ute forces, it will be unable to direct policy. Although 
we make mistakes when we transfer people from one place 
to another, nevertheless, I take the liberty of asserting 
that all the time it has been functioning, the Political 
Bureau of the Central Committee has made the minimum 
of mistakes. This is not self-praise. The activities of the 
Political Bureau are tested not by commissions, not by 
people appointed by our Party, but by the whiteguards, 
by our enemies; and the proof is the results of its policy, 
in which no serious mistakes have been committed. 

Comrade Osinsky's strong point is that if he undertakes 
anything he pursues it with energy and vigour. We must 
do all we can to cultivate this strong point of his and to 
curb his weak points (even if Osinsky raises a howl — he is 
such a vigorous fellow — this must be done; otherwise, as 
a worker, he will be done for). We on the Central Committee 
have taken measures which, I think, will combine his 
weak points with his strong ones. 

If I wanted to polemise with Comrade Osinsky — which 
I do not want to do — I would say that the weightiest evi- 
dence that could be brought against him is the speech he 



delivered here today. I would have it printed and posted 
up on a board.... There was once a man.... 

A Deputy People's Commissar and a leading figure in 
one of the most important People's Commissariats, and 
foremost among those who can draw up a platform on any 
question, this man proposes that we should adopt the 
Cabinet system. 92 I assert that this man is absolutely done 
for.... I will not go into this in detail, or polemise; what 
interests me most is that Comrade Osinsky's vast energy 
should be directed into proper channels. If Comrade Osinsky 
does not, in a comradely way, heed the advice that has 
been often given to him by the Central Committee, and for 
which I have been largely responsible, and if he does not 
moderate his zeal in this matter, he will inevitably find 
himself in the mire, as he found himself today. 

This is very unpleasant for a man who is fond of dis- 
playing his character; and it is quite legitimate for a man 
gifted with a strong character to want to display it. Would 
to God that everybody had such a character to display. 
But the Central Committee must see to it that this 
character is displayed for a useful purpose. The Central 
Committee must see to it that this talk about a Cabinet is cut 
short, even if the man who undergoes this circumcision, 
so to speak, complains about it. This will be beneficial. 
He must put a curb on his talents to prevent himself from 
landing in the mire; and he must consult comrades in the 
other People's Commissariats and adhere to the general 
line. Has any one of our Commissariats done anything 
without controversy? No. 

"Improvement of the system of administration and the 
psychological mobilisation of the masses." This is sheer 
murder! If the Congress were to adopt this politically 
reactionary point of view it would be the surest and best 
method of committing suicide. 

"Improvement of the system of administration"?! Pray 
God that we succeed, at least, in getting out of the muddle 
that we are in today. 

We have no system?! For five years we have been spend- 
ing our best efforts in the endeavour to create this system! 
This system is a tremendous step forward. 

The machinery of state is faulty! Do we know what the 



trouble is? We do not! But Comrade Osinsky talks as if 
he does. Why, he can sit down and in ten minutes devise 
a whole system of administration. It will be harmful and 
a political mistake if his zeal is not curbed. In other chan- 
nels, however, the zeal he is displaying now will be very 

Well, that's one illustration. And then Comrades Preobra- 
zhensky and Osinsky bore out in their comments what I said 
about the most important thing, and Comrade Larin proved it 
still more thoroughly. Look what he did. He hurled accu- 
sations at me and laughed and jested very merrily. 

He does this magnificently; this is his strong point. 
If Comrade Larin could display this strong point of his 
in some field other than that of state activities he would 
be a thousand times more useful for our Republic; for he 
is a very capable man and has a vivid imagination. This 
quality is extremely valuable; it is wrong to think that 
only poets need imagination. That is a silly prejudice! 
It is needed even in mathematics; it would have been 
impossible to discover the differential and integral calculus 
without imagination. Imagination is a very valuable 
asset; but Comrade Larin has a little too much of it. 
I would say, for example, that if Comrade Larin's stock 
of imagination were divided equally among all the members 
of the R.C.P., there would be very good results. {Laughter. 
Applause.) But until we can perform this operation, Com- 
rade Larin must be kept away from state, administrative, 
planning, and economic affairs. Otherwise, we shall have 
the same thing occurring as did in the old Supreme Econom- 
ic Council, when Comrade Rykov had not yet recovered, 
and affairs were directed and documents signed by 
"Y. Larin" on behalf of the entire Supreme Economic 
Council. Things were run badly not because Comrade 
Larin displayed his worst qualities, but on the contrary; 
it was because he displayed his best qualities — and nobody 
can have even a shadow of doubt about his devotion 
and knowledge of affairs. Nevertheless, things were run 

This is exactly what I said. True, all these are copy- 
book maxims. As for copybook maxims, even Kamkov 
poked fun at me for this at the Congress of the Socialist- 



Revolutionaries. He said: "Today, Lenin is preaching: 
'Thou shalt not steal'; and tomorrow he will add: 'Thou 
shalt not commit adultery.' This is all that Lenin's wisdom 
amounts to." I heard this from Kamkov, the Socialist- 
Revolutionary, as far back as 1918. And if Kamkov, who 
backed these arguments with artillery, made no impression 
on anyone, what impression can Comrade Larin's jokes 
make? Now we must concentrate all our attention on the 
major problems of our New Economic Policy. Here Comrade 
Larin tried to divert the Party on to the wrong road. If 
he were engaged with matters on which he could usefully 
display his numerous talents, where he could be of great 
benefit to the younger generation, and where he would not 
play such a trick as he played in the State Planning Com- 
mission, it would be entirely different. If he were engaged 
in such work he would make an impression on the younger 
generation — I think I am speaking plainly enough — and 
we should not have the confusion that he has caused here. 93 
I said that Comrade Kamenev proposed on the Political 
Bureau that a resolution be adopted to the effect that it 
would be useful to import food and that canned goods be 
purchased with Soviet currency. Larin sat here, heard this 
perfectly well, and remembering it perfectly well, said as 
soon as he got on to the platform: "Lenin forgot, owing to 
ill health — we shall forgive him this time — that the per- 
mission of the Political Bureau has to be obtained for 
disbursements from the gold reserve." Had Comrade Kame- 
nev proposed that we should take money out of the gold 
reserve and give it to French profiteers in exchange for 
canned goods we would not have listened to him. We did 
not offer a single gold kopek for the canned goods, we offered 
Soviet paper currency and — just imagine — it was accepted. 
Wolfson even assured me yesterday that these canned 
goods were of good quality (although they have not 
arrived yet); but I shall not believe him until we have tasted 
them, because here they may try to cheat us. The point is, 
however, that Comrade Larin garbled the facts; we did not 
spend a single gold kopek; we spent 160,000 million Soviet 
paper rubles. 

Of course, it would be ridiculous and absurd to think 
that Comrade Larin did this with malicious intent. No, 



that is not the point. The point is that his imagination 
soars a trillion kilometres high and, as a consequence, he 
mixes everything up. 

Then he went on to say that the State Planning Commis- 
sion had proposed to lease out three-fourths of our 
railways. It is a good thing that he said this at the Party 
Congress, where Krzhizhanovsky immediately refuted him. 
It does not often happen like that. You think that talk 
of this sort is heard only at Party congresses? Inquire at 
the Central Control Commission and they will tell you how 
they examined the case of the Moscow Debating Club, 94 and 
what brought up the case of the Moscow Debating Club, 
where Comrades Larin and Ryazanov ... (Ryazanov from 
his seat: "I said nothing about the gold reserve there; 
worse things were said.") I was not in Moscow and took no 
part in the investigation of this case, I merely had a brief 

report (Ryazanov: "Don't believe every rumour.") 

I learned this from a conversation I had with Comrade 
Solts; it is not a rumour, but a conversation I had with 
a man whom our supreme body, the Party Congress, had 
appointed to the Central Control Commission. It was he 
who told me; and what he told me cannot rouse the slight- 
est doubt. One must be very thoughtless to call this a 
rumour. The Central Control Commission investigated the 
affair of the Debating Club and was obliged to state unan- 
imously that it was not being run properly. What is wrong 
is quite clear to me. Today, Larin, in passing, carried 
away by his own eloquence, went to the length of saying 
that a proposal had been made to lease out three-fourths 
of our railways, but that the Central Committee had put 
the matter right. Krzhizhanovsky said that nothing of 
the kind had happened; the Central Committee had put 
nothing right; Larin had simply muddled up his facts. 
This is constantly happening. 

For four years we have been unable to put a useful worker 
like Larin to really useful work and to relieve him of work 
where he causes harm, in spite of himself. 

The situation is rather unnatural, I think. We have 
the dictatorship of the proletariat, a reign of terror, victory 
over all the armies in the world, but no victory over Larin's 
army! Here we have suffered utter defeat! He is always 



doing what he has no business to do. His vast knowledge 
and his ability to enthuse people would be of real benefit 
to the younger generation, which is groping in the dark. 
We are unable to utilise his knowledge, and this gives 
rise to friction and resistance. Here the Political Bureau, 
the Organising Bureau of the Central Committee and the 
Plenary Meetings of the Central Committee, which are 
accused of enjoying too much authority, turn out to have 
insufficient authority, or prestige, to distribute all the 
comrades properly. 

We must think this question over and discuss it seri- 
ously. This is the pivot of our work, and we must set things 
right here. If we do, we shall emerge from our difficulties. 
We shall achieve this by rectifying things, but not by 
talking about the new tasks of the Agrarian Programme as 
Osinsky and Larin did. I wrote a review of this programme 
for the Central Committee. 95 I shall not discuss it now; every 
member of the Party interested in the subject has a right 
to go to the Secretariat and read it there. Please do so. 
If we divert the efforts of Larin and Osinsky into the proper 
channels and curb their misguided zeal, enormous benefit 
will accrue. 

In conclusion I shall say a few words about Shlyapnikov. 
I intended to speak about him at greater length, but ninety- 
nine per cent of this subject has been covered by Trotsky 
and Zinoviev, who on instructions of the Central Committee 
replied to the Statement of the Twenty-Two 96 at the meeting 
of the Communist International. 

Firstly, Comrade Shlyapnikov pretended not to under- 
stand why I referred to machine-guns and panic-mongers; 
and he jokingly said that he had been tried lots of times. 
Of course, comrades, it is not a bad thing to make a joke. 
One cannot speak at a big meeting without cracking a 
joke or two, because one's audience gets weary. One must 
be human. But there are certain things that one must not 
joke about; there is such a thing as Party unity. 

At a time when we are completely surrounded by ene- 
mies; when the international bourgeoisie is sufficiently 
astute to shift Milyukov to the left, to supply the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries with money for the publication of all 
sorts of newspapers and to incite Vandervelde and Otto 



Bauer to launch a campaign against the trial of the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries and to howl that the Bolsheviks are 
brutes; when all these people, who have studied politics 
for ages and have thousands of millions of gold rubles, 
francs, etc., at their disposal, are arrayed against us, for 
Comrade Shlyapnikov to crack jokes and to say: "I have 
been tried by the Central Committee", and so forth, is 
a deplorable thing, comrades. The Party Congress must 
draw definite conclusions. We do not arrange trials at the 
Central Committee for nothing! Comrade Shlyapnikov was 
tried by the Central Committee, and we were short of three 
votes to expel him from the Party. 97 The members of the 
Party gathered at this Congress should interest themselves 
in the matter and read the minutes of that meeting of the 
Central Committee. This is no laughing matter! 

You have a legitimate right to appeal to the Communist 
International. But a long time before that appeal was 
lodged a large majority of the Central Committee was in 
favour of expelling Comrade Shlyapnikov; only the neces- 
sary two-third vote was lacking. You cannot trifle with 
a thing like that! It will do you no harm to know that at 
the meeting of the Communist group at the Metalworkers' 
Congress Comrade Shlyapnikov openly advocated a split. 

Comrade Trotsky has already dealt with the signifi- 
cance of Comrade Kollontai's pamphlet. 

If we trifle with things like this it will be utterly hopeless 
to expect that we shall hold on in the difficult situation 
in which we now find ourselves. I have indicated the three 
conditions under which it will be possible for us to hold 
on: first, that there shall be no intervention; second, that 
the financial crisis shall not be too severe; and third, that 
we shall make no political mistakes. 

One of the speakers stated that I said political compli- 
cations. No, I said political mistakes. If we make no polit- 
ical mistakes, I say, 99 per cent of the Party membership 
will be with us, and so also will the non-Party workers 
and peasants, who will understand that this is the time 
to learn. 

I remember that in the article he wrote on the anniversary 
of the Red Army Comrade Trotsky said: "A year of tuition." 
This slogan applies equally to the Party and to the working 



class. During this period we have rallied around us a vast 
number of heroic people who have undoubtedly made the 
turn in world history permanent. But this does not justify 
our failure to understand that we now have ahead of us 
a "year of tuition". 

We are standing much more firmly on our feet today than 
we stood a year ago. Of course, even today the bourgeoisie 
may attempt another armed intervention, but they will find 
it much more difficult than before; it is much more diffi- 
cult today than it was yesterday. 

To ensure ourselves the opportunity to learn we must 
make no political mistakes. We must waste no time playing 
with the unity of the Party, as Comrade Shlyapnikov is 
doing. We cannot afford games of that kind! We know that 
the conflict within the Party is costing us a great deal. 
Comrades, we must not forget this lesson! Concerning the 
past year, the Central Committee has every right to say 
that at the opening of this Congress there was less factional 
strife in the Party, it was more united than last year. I 
do not want to boast that all factionalism in the Party has 
vanished. But it is an incontrovertible fact that there is 
less factionalism in the Party today. This has been proved. 

You know that the present Workers' Opposition is 
only a wreck of the former Workers' Opposition. Compare 
the signatures appended to the Statement of the Twenty- 
Two with those appended to the platform that was issued 
before the Tenth Congress. You will find that many of 
those signatures are missing. We must tell those people 
who legitimately used their right to appeal to the Commu- 
nist International that they had no right to appeal on 
behalf of Myasnikov. The Myasnikov case came up last 
summer, 98 I was not in Moscow at the time, but I wrote 
Myasnikov a long letter," which he inserted in his pamphlet. 
I saw that he was a capable man and that it was worth 
while having a talk with him; but this man must be told 
that if he comes out with criticism of this sort it will not be 

He writes a letter saying: "Collect all the discontented 
in the district." Yes, it is not a very difficult matter to 
collect all the discontented in a district. Take the speeches 
that Shlyapnikov delivers here, and which Comrade Med- 



vedyev delivers elsewhere. (Medvedyev from his seat: "Where 
did you obtain your information?") I obtained my infor- 
mation from the bodies appointed by the Congress of the 
R.C.P.: the Organising Bureau of the Central Committee, 
the Secretariat of the Central Committee, and the Central 
Control Commission. Make inquiries there, if you like, 
and you will learn what sort of speeches Comrade Medve- 
dyev delivers. If we do not put a stop to this sort of thing 
we shall be unable to maintain unity which, perhaps, 
is our greatest asset. We must ruthlessly expose our mis- 
takes and discuss them. If we clearly understand this — 
and we are beginning to understand it at this Congress — 
there is not the slightest doubt that we shall be able to 
overcome them. (Stormy applause.) 





Comrades, we have reached the end of our Congress. 

The first difference that strikes one in comparing this 
Congress with the preceding one is the greater solidarity, 
the greater unanimity and greater organisational unity 
that have been displayed. 

Only a small part of one of the sections of the opposition 
that existed at the last Congress has placed itself outside 
the Party. 

On the trade union question and on the New Economic 
Policy no disagreements, or hardly any disagreements, 
have been revealed in our Party. 

The radically and fundamentally "new" achievement of 
this Congress is that it has provided vivid proof that our 
enemies are wrong in constantly reiterating that our Party 
is becoming senile and is losing its flexibility of mind and 

No. We have not lost this flexibility. 

When the objective state of affairs in Russia, and all 
over the world, called for an advance, for a supremely bold, 
swift and determined onslaught on the enemy, we made 
that onslaught. If necessary, we shall do it again and again. 

By that we raised our revolution to a height hitherto 
unparalleled in the world. No power on earth, no matter 
how much evil, hardship and suffering it may yet cause 
millions and hundreds of millions of people, can annul 
the major gains of our revolution, for these are no longer 
our but historic gains. 

But when in the spring of 1921 it turned out that the 
vanguard of the revolution was in danger of becoming 



isolated from the masses of the people, from the masses of 
the peasants, whom it must skilfully lead forward, we 
unanimously and firmly decided to retreat. And on the whole, 
during the past year we retreated in good revolutionary order. 

The proletarian revolutions maturing in all advanced 
countries of the world will be unable to solve their prob- 
lems unless they combine the ability to fight heroically 
and to attack with the ability to retreat in good revolu- 
tionary order. The experience of the second period of our 
struggle, i.e., the experience of retreat, will in the future 
probably be just as useful to the workers of at least some 
countries, as the experience of the first period of our 
revolution, i.e., the experience of bold attack, will un- 
doubtedly prove useful to the workers of all countries. 

Now we have decided to halt the retreat. 

This means that the entire object of our policy must 
be formulated in a new way. 

The central feature of the situation now is that the van- 
guard must not shirk the work of educating itself, of 
remoulding itself, must not be afraid of frankly admitting 
that it is not sufficiently trained and lacks the necessary 
skill. The main thing now is to advance as an immeasur- 
ably wider and larger mass, and only together with the 
peasantry, proving to them by deeds, in practice, by 
experience, that we are learning, and that we shall learn to 
assist them, to lead them forward. In the present interna- 
tional situation, in the present state of the productive 
forces of Russia, this problem can be solved only very 
slowly, cautiously, in a business-like way, and by testing 
a thousand times in a practical way every step that is taken. 

If voices are raised in our Party against this extremely 
slow and extremely cautious progress, these voices will be 
isolated ones. 

The Party as a whole has understood — and will now 
prove by deeds that it has understood — that at the present 
time its work must be organised exactly along these lines, 
and since we have understood it, we shall achieve our goal! 

I declare the Eleventh Congress of the Russian Commu- 
nist Party closed. 




April 1, 1922 

Comrade Osinsky, 

After thinking over the conversation I had with you 
about the work of the Agricultural Section of the Party 
Congress, I have arrived at the conclusion that the most 
urgent thing at the present time is: 

not to tie our (neither the Party's nor the Soviet 
government's) hands by any orders, directives or 
rules until we have collected sufficient facts about 
economic life in the localities and until we have 
sufficiently studied the actual conditions and require- 
ments of present-day peasant farming; 

under no circumstances to permit what would be 
most dangerous and harmful at the present time, 
and what the local authorities may easily slip into — 
superfluous, clumsy and hasty regulation that has 
not been tested by experience. 
The recent Congress of Soviets laid down the line. The 
task of the Party Congress, in my opinion, is to discuss in 
the Agricultural Section the application of this line in 
the light of practical experience in the localities; to instruct 
the Central Committee of the R.C.P. and the People's 
Commissariat of Agriculture (the Soviet government bodies in 
general) more thoroughly to collect detailed facts that 
can be used as verification material; to order, or rather, 
to give directions to the Communist group at the next 
session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee to 
the effect that in working out the details of the decision 



of the Congress of Soviets, i.e., in converting this decision 
into new and more detailed laws, to be as cautious as pos- 
sible so as not to hinder the successful development of 
agricultural production by clumsy interference. 

What we must fear most of all, I think, is clumsy inter- 
ference; for we have not yet made a thorough study of the 
actual requirements of local agricultural life and the actual 
abilities of the machinery of local administration (the abil- 
ity not to do evil in the name of doing good). 

Hence, it seems to me that it is desirable that something 
approximating the following be included in the resolution 
of the Party Congress based on the proceedings of the Agri- 
cultural Section: 

1) The Party Congress, having heard the report of 
the proceedings of the Agricultural Section, accepts 
it as information; it finds that the material so far 
collected on the experience of the localities is inade- 
quate and that the primary task of the Party and of 
Communist groups in all Soviet bodies is to collect 
carefully and make a close study of local practical 

2) The Congress regards the dissolution (or hasty 
reorganisation?) of the agricultural co-operative organ- 
isations as a mistake, and recommends the greatest 
caution in this matter. 

3) On the question of the conditions on which hired 
labour may be employed on the farms, and of the terms 
on which land may be rented, the Party Congress 
recommends all officials engaged in this field of work 
not to restrict either of these transactions by unnec- 
essary formalities, but to confine themselves to 
putting into effect the decisions of the recent Congress 
of Soviets and to studying the practical measures 
it would be expedient to adopt to curb all tendencies 
to go to extremes and harmful excesses in these matters. 

4) The Congress considers that the primary and 
main object of all Party activities among the peasantry 
is to render practical assistance in immediately 
extending the area planted to crops, bringing fresh 
lands under the plough, increasing the output of 
farm produce and in alleviating the hardships of 



the peasantry. All efforts and resources must be devoted 
to assisting and encouraging the poor section of 
the peasantry, and every effort must be made to 
devise measures that in practice will prove suitable 
for this purpose even under the present difficult 

With communist greetings, 


First published in 1925 

Published according to 
the manuscript 



Imagine that a Communist has to enter premises in 
which agents of the bourgeoisie are carrying on their pro- 
paganda at a fairly large meeting of workers. Imagine 
also that the bourgeoisie demands from us a high price for 
admission to these premises. If the price has not been 
agreed to beforehand we must bargain, of course, in order 
not to impose too heavy a burden upon our Party funds. 
If we pay too much for admission to these premises we shall 
undoubtedly commit an error. But it is better to pay a 
high price — at all events until we have learned to bargain 
properly — than to reject an opportunity of speaking to 
workers who hitherto have been in the exclusive "pos- 
session", so to speak, of the reformists, i.e., of the most 
loyal friends of the bourgeoisie. 

This analogy came to my mind when in today's Pravda 
I read a telegram from Berlin stating the terms on which 
agreement has been reached between the representatives 
of the three Internationals. 

In my opinion our representatives were wrong in agree- 
ing to the following two conditions: first, that the Soviet 
government should not apply the death penalty in the 
case of the forty-seven Socialist-Revolutionaries, second 
that the Soviet government should permit representatives 
of the three Internationals to be present at the trial. 

These two conditions are nothing more nor less than a 
political concession on the part of the revolutionary pro- 
letariat to the reactionary bourgeoisie. If anyone has any 
doubt about the correctness of this definition, then, to 
reveal the political naivete of such a person, it is suffi- 
cient to ask him the following questions. Would the 



British or any other contemporary government permit repre- 
sentatives of the three Internationals to attend the trial 
of Irish workers charged with rebellion? Or the trial of 
the workers implicated in the recent rebellion in South 
Africa? 101 Would the British or any other government, in 
such, or similar circumstances, agree to promise that it 
would not impose the death penalty on its political oppo- 
nents? A little reflection over these questions will be suf- 
ficient to enable one to understand the following simple 
truth. All over the world a struggle is going on between 
the reactionary bourgeoisie and the revolutionary prole- 
tariat. In the present case the Communist International 
which represents one side in this struggle, makes a political 
concession to the other side, i.e., the reactionary bour- 
geoisie; for everybody in the world knows (except those 
who want to conceal the obvious truth) that the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries have shot at Communists and have organ- 
ised revolts against them, and that they have done this 
actually, and sometimes officially, in a united front with 
the whole of the international reactionary bourgeoisie. 

The question is — what concession has the international 
bourgeoisie made to us in return? There can only be one 
reply to this question, and it is that no concession has 
been made to us whatever. 

Only arguments which becloud this simple and clear 
truth of the class struggle, only arguments which throw 
dust in the eyes of the masses of working people, can obscure 
this obvious fact. Under the agreement signed in Berlin by 
the representatives of the Third International we have made 
two political concessions to the international bourgeoisie. 
We have obtained no concession in return. 

The representatives of the Second and Two-and-a-Half 
Internationals acted as blackmailers to extort a political 
concession from the proletariat for the benefit of the bour- 
geoisie, while emphatically refusing, or at any rate making 
no attempt, to induce the international bourgeoisie to 
make some political concession to the revolutionary pro- 
letariat. Of course, this incontrovertible political fact 
was obscured by shrewd bourgeois diplomats (the bour- 
geoisie has been training members of its class to become 
good diplomats for many centuries); but the attempt to 



obscure the fact does not change it in the least. Whether 
the various representatives of the Second and Two-and-a- 
Half Internationals are in direct or indirect collusion with 
the bourgeoisie is a matter of tenth-rate importance in the 
present case. We do not accuse them of being in direct 
collusion. The question of whether there has been direct 
collusion or fairly intricate, indirect connection has noth- 
ing to do with the case. The only point that has anything 
to do with it is that as a result of the pressure of the repre- 
sentatives of the Second and Two-and-a-Half Interna- 
tionals, the Communist International has made a political 
concession to the international bourgeoisie and has obtained 
no concession in return. 

What conclusion should be drawn from this? 

First, that Comrades Radek, Bukharin and the others 
who represented the Communist International acted wrong- 

Further. Does it follow from this that we must tear up 
the agreement that they signed? No. I think it would be 
wrong to draw such a conclusion. We ought not to tear 
up the agreement. All we have to do is to realise that on 
this occasion the bourgeois diplomats proved to be more 
skilful than ours, and that next time, if the price of admis- 
sion is not fixed beforehand, we must bargain and manoeuvre 
more skilfully. We must make it a rule not to make 
political concessions to the international bourgeoisie (no 
matter how skilfully these concessions may be concealed 
by intermediaries, no matter of what sort) unless we receive 
in return more or less equivalent concessions from the 
international bourgeoisie to Soviet Russia, or to the other 
contingents of the international proletariat which is fighting 

Perhaps the Italian Communists and a section of the 
French Communists and Syndicalists, who were opposed to 
united front tactics, will infer from the above argument 
that united front tactics are wrong. But such an inference 
will obviously be wrong. If the communist representatives 
have paid too much for admission to premises in which they 
have some, even if small, opportunity of addressing workers 
up to now in the exclusive "possession" of reformists, such 
a mistake must be rectified next time. But it would be an 



incomparably greater mistake to reject all terms, or all 
payment for admission to these fairly well-guarded and 
barred premises. The mistake that Comrades Radek, Bukha- 
rin and the others made is not a grave one, especially as 
our only risk is that the enemies of Soviet Russia may be 
encouraged by the result of the Berlin Conference to make 
two or three perhaps successful attempts on the lives of 
certain persons; for they know beforehand that they can 
shoot at Communists in the expectation that conferences 
like the Berlin Conference will hinder the Communists from 
shooting at them. 

At all events, we have made some breach in the premises 
that were closed to us. At all events, Comrade Radek has 
succeeded in exposing, at least to a section of the workers, 
the fact that the Second International refused to include 
among the slogans of the demonstration a demand to annul 
the Treaty of Versailles. The great mistake the Italian 
Communists and a section of the French Communists and 
Syndicalists make is in being content with the knowledge 
they already possess. They are content with knowing well 
enough that the representatives of the Second and Two- 
and-a-Half Internationals, and also Paul Levi, Serrati 
and others, are very shrewd agents of the bourgeoisie 
and vehicles of their influence. But people, workers, who 
really know this, and who really understand its significance, 
are undoubtedly in the minority in Italy, Britain, the U.S.A. 
and France. Communists must not stew in their own juice, 
but must learn to penetrate into prohibited premises where 
the representatives of the bourgeoisie are influencing the 
workers; and in this they must not shrink from making 
certain sacrifices and not be afraid of making mistakes, 
which, at first, are inevitable in every new and difficult 
undertaking. The Communists who refuse to understand 
this and who do not want to learn how to do it cannot hope 
to win over the majority of the workers; at all events, they 
are hindering and retarding the work of winning this major- 
ity. For Communists, and all genuine adherents of the 
workers' revolution, this is absolutely unpardonable. 

Once again, the bourgeoisie, in the persons of their 
diplomats, have outwitted the representatives of the Com- 
munist International. Such is the lesson of the Berlin 



Conference. We shall not forget this lesson. We shall draw 
all the necessary conclusions from it. The representatives of 
the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals need a unit- 
ed front, for they hope to weaken us by inducing us to 
make exorbitant concessions; they hope to penetrate into 
our communist premises without any payment, they hope 
to utilise united front tactics for the purpose of convincing 
the workers that reformist tactics are correct and that 
revolutionary tactics are wrong. We need a united front 
because we hope to convince the workers of the opposite. 
We shall put the blame for the mistakes on our communist 
representatives who committed them, and on those parties 
which commit them, while we shall try to learn from these 
mistakes and to prevent a repetition of them in the future. 
But under no circumstances shall we thrust the blame for 
the mistakes of our Communists upon the proletarian 
masses, who all over the world are facing the onslaught of 
advancing capital. We adopted united front tactics in order 
to help these masses to fight capitalism, to help them 
understand the "cunning mechanism" of the two fronts in 
international economics and in international politics; and 
we shall pursue these tactics to the end. 

April 9, 1922 

Pravda No. 81, April 11, 1922 
Signed: Lenin 

Dictated by telephone 
Published according to 

the Pravda text 






1. The main functions of the Deputy Chairmen, for 
which they are particularly responsible and to which all 
their other functions must be subordinated, are to exercise 
executive control over the fulfilment of decrees, laws and 
decisions; to reduce the staffs of Soviet government offices 
and supervise the reorganisation of their business on proper 
and rational lines, and to combat bureaucratic methods and 
red tape. 

The ensuing gives these main functions in detail or sup- 
plements them in minor particulars. 

It is the duty of the Deputy Chairmen: 

2. To ensure that no question concerning Soviet affairs 
is discussed by other bodies, government or Party (Presid- 
ium of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee 
Political Bureau and Organising Bureau of the Central 
Committee of the R.C.P., and so forth, without exception), 
without the knowledge and participation of the Deputy 

3. To relieve the Council of People's Commissars and 
the Council of Labour and Defence as far as possible of 
minor matters, part (and most) of which should be settled 
by the departmental administrations and part (in urgent 



and exceptionally important cases) by the Deputy Chairmen 

4. To ensure by strict supervision that the executive 
sessions of the Council of Labour and Defence and partic- 
ularly of the Narrow Council of People's Commissars shall 
not assume more functions than are absolutely necessary, 
shall not complicate their duties and functions, nor permit 
their functions to become bureaucratically inflated and 
hypertrophied; they must demand more self-reliance and 
more responsibility from every People's Commissar and 
every government department. 

5. To compel the People's Commissars and independent 
government departments to administer their affairs on their 
own responsibility in accordance with their prescribed rights 
and duties. 

6. To see to it that the degree of responsibility, primarily 
of members of Collegiums and of the most important Soviet 
officials, and then of all Soviet officials, shall be precisely 
and individually defined; to combat relentlessly the pre- 
vailing haziness and vagueness concerning each individ- 
ual's duties and the complete lack of responsibility result- 
ing from this. 

7. To become personally acquainted with a certain num- 
ber of Soviet officials not only of the highest rank, but 
primarily the medium and lower officials, by summoning 
them to the centre and, wherever possible, by visiting 
government offices in Moscow and the provinces, so as to 
test and choose men, and also to really improve the machin- 
ery of Soviet government. 

8. To give priority to those People's Commissariats, their 
departments and offices which for a specific period acquire 
exceptional importance, and to render them the maximum 
of assistance in the way of personnel, resources, the personal 
direction of the Deputy Chairmen, etc. 


9. The Deputy Chairmen should devote about nine-tenths 
of their efforts to the People's Commissariats concerned 
with economic affairs and one-tenth to the rest. 



10. Financial questions are in the forefront for the 
immediate future and the Deputy Chairmen should 
devote most attention to them. 

11. A particularly vital matter is the introduction of 
a system of bonuses to be paid to Soviet employees in pro- 
portion to the turnover and profits of the People's Commis- 
sariat of Foreign Trade, the co-operative societies and other 
trading organisations. 

Systematic efforts must be made to study the bonus 
system of payment to all Soviet employees in general and 
devise measures for applying it. 

12. All work now proceeding for the purpose of forming 
a separate People's Commissariat of Internal Trade, or of 
turning these functions over to the People's Commissariat 
of Foreign Trade or the Supreme Economic Council, should 
be stopped. The Council of Labour and Defence should 
set up a special Internal Trade Commission which shall be 
furnished with the smallest possible secretarial staff, and 
the only local organs of which shall be the gubernia eco- 
nomic conferences. 

13. It is extremely important to supervise the activities 
of the state trusts with a view to seeking those that 
are tolerably well organised among the bulk of badly 
organised ones, and steadily closing down the latter; to 
investigate the role played (actually) by the Communists 
on the management boards of the state trusts; to ascertain 
who is really responsible for the conduct of affairs and 
for efficiency in conducting affairs. 

14. Each Deputy Chairman should undertake to organ- 
ise one or two exemplary departments, or offices, of any 
given People's Commissariat to enable him to arrive at a 
standard size of staffs, verify the correctness of this standard 
and establish the best methods of conducting and supervis- 
ing affairs. 

The methods of work, methods of improving efficiency, 
and the methods of supervision employed in these few really 
exemplary offices should later be gradually introduced into 
all Soviet offices. 

In view of the exceptional importance of this question, 
and in view of the stubborn resistance of the Soviet bureau- 
crats, who want to cling to the old bureaucratic methods, 



there will have to be a persistent struggle to create a few 
exemplary offices as a means of tightening up and testing 
the rest. By agreement with the bodies concerned (the 
Central Committee of the Soviet Office Employees' Union, 
the All-Russia Central Council of Trade Unions, the Labour 
Institute, etc., etc.) and under the supervision of the Deputy 
Chairmen the best of the latest literature on the organisation 
of labour and on management, especially the American and 
German, should be translated and published. 

15. It is necessary — if at first only in a very few govern- 
ment offices — to supervise the redistribution of Communists 
in Soviet offices and to see to it that Communists occupy 
only such posts (at the very top as well as the very bottom 
of the hierarchy) as enable them really to watch the progress 
of work, really to combat bureaucracy and red tape, really 
to secure an immediate amelioration of the conditions and 
improvement in the lot of those unfortunate citizens who 
are compelled to have dealings with our utterly inefficient 
Soviet machinery of administration. 

Special attention must be paid to the Communists who 
occupy posts at the lower levels of the hierarchy, for often 
they are actually more important than those at the top. 

16. The reports of the gubernia economic conferences 
must be read regularly, firstly, by the members of the State 
Planning Commission, the officials of the Central Statistical 
Board and the staff of Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn; and every 
one of these should write a very brief review for the press 
or for his respective department, and be responsible for 
giving the necessary timely directions and conclusions. 
Secondly, they must be read by a group of several dozen 
Communists (not less), as far as possible not Soviet officials, 
who can read reports from the purely Communist and not 
from the departmental point of view. 

The group headed by Comrade Milyutin in Petrograd 
should have charge of the distribution of the reports of 
the gubernia economic conferences for reading, and as 
material for newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, etc. 

Constant efforts must be made gradually to extend the 
obligatory printing of reports to an ever increasing number 
of business organisations (uyezd economic conferences, state 
trusts, "mixed companies", etc., etc.), for unless an increas- 



ing number of the population grow accustomed to reading 
these reports in the libraries, it is useless talking about 
transforming this semi-barbarous country into a cultured 
and socialistic one. 

17. Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn must actually become the 
organ of the Council of Labour and Defence, an organ of 
business administration. Both Deputy Chairmen should read 
it regularly and relentlessly combat the prevailing efforts 
of all writers and of all Soviet officials to reduce this news- 
paper to the level of an ordinary "semi-independent", 
intellectualist bourgeois organ of "opinion", views and 
wrangling and to keep out of its columns summaries of 
reports, control of regular receipt of these reports, serious 
analysis of the business operations of particular organisa- 
tions, serious criticism of efficient and inefficient offices, 
persons, methods of work, etc. 

It will take years to convert Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn into 
a real business management paper, into a real organ of 
socialist construction, all the more necessary is it, therefore, 
to strive steadily and systematically to achieve this. 

18. The same applies to the Central Statistical Board. 
It must not be an "academic" and "independent" organisa- 
tion — as it mostly is today, owing to old bourgeois habits — 
but an organ of socialist construction, verification, control 
and of registration of what the socialist state must primarily 
know now, immediately. Here, too, the tenacity of old 
habits will inevitably be very great, and all the more stren- 
uous, therefore, must be the efforts to combat them. (I request 
that the Deputy Chairmen read my correspondence on this 
subject in the summer of 1921* with the editor of Ekono- 
micheskaya Zhizn and with the Central Statistical Board.) 


19. The Deputy Chairmen must free themselves as much 
as possible from minor details and from unnecessary inter- 
views with People's Commissars and members of Collegiums, 
which usually take up a great deal of their time and prevent 
them from exercising executive control. 

See pp. 36-38, 30-35 of this volume.— Ed. 



20. The Deputy Chairmen must free themselves as much 
as possible from the need to attend all sorts of commissions. 

21. The Deputy Chairmen must make every effort to 
dissolve existing commissions (nine-tenths of which are 
superfluous and show a tendency to revive in a slightly 
different guise very soon after they have been dissolved) 
and to prevent the formation of new ones. 

22. In those cases where commission work is unavoidable, 
the Deputy Chairmen must do all they can to avoid taking 
part in it themselves, and should, as far as possible, confine 
themselves to finally endorsing the decisions of such com- 
missions, or to expediting their proceedings and sending 
their decisions for endorsement in the prescribed order. 

23. The staff of the Deputy Chairmen shall consist of, 
firstly, the staffs of the Executive Secretary of the Council 
of People's Commissars and of the Council of Labour and 
Defence, their assistants and secretaries. This absolutely 
necessary minimum staff, whose size (not too large) is 
such that the Deputy Chairmen can exercise personal 
supervision, must under no circumstances be enlarged. 
Secondly, the Deputy Chairmen are to entrust individual 
members of the Narrow Council of People's Commissars with 
various commissions. Thirdly, the People's Commissariat 
of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection must serve as the 
main staff of the Deputy Chairmen. 

The Deputy Chairmen should personally select assistants 
and executives from the staff of this People's Commissariat, 
train them and supervise their work, and make special 
efforts to enlist non-Party workers and peasants for this 
work (this is an exceptionally difficult matter, but if it is 
not steadily developed Soviet power will be doomed). 

24. The Deputy Chairmen must to a greater extent than 
hitherto exercise their powers to impose penalties (expedite 
the drafting of the law on this subject undertaken by Com- 
rade Tsyurupa) for bureaucratic methods, red tape, inef- 
ficiency, neglect, etc. The penalties for the worst offences 
must be dismissal, legal prosecution, and the People's Com- 
missariat of Justice must organise trials of such cases, to 
which great publicity must be given. 





25. To co-ordinate their work, the two Deputy Chairmen 
should send each other copies of their most important 
instructions, and make a practice of keeping a verbatim 
record of the oral instructions, directions and so forth 
given by them during personal interviews (in the briefest 
terms and the most important points, of course). The num- 
ber of stenographers on the Executive Secretary's staff of 
the Council of People's Commissars should therefore be 
increased sufficiently to enable the Deputy Chairmen to 
have two stenographers constantly at their service during 
business hours. If necessary, a couple of dictaphones of the 
best type should be ordered from abroad. 

26. The same applies to the most important reports, 
written and oral. 

27. In necessary and important cases the Deputy Chair- 
men should confer in order to reach a common understand- 
ing regarding objects and activities and to avoid duplication 
and running at cross purposes in the course of their work. 

In the event of disagreement arising between the Deputy 
Chairmen the issue should be settled by the Chairman of 
the Council of People's Commissars, or, if he is absent, by 
the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, or by a 
comrade especially appointed by it for the purpose. 



28. During the next few months, until further notice, 
the functions of the Deputy Chairmen shall be distributed 
as follows. 

29. Comrade Tsyurupa shall preside at the meetings of 
the Full Council of People's Commissars (after he has 
presided for two hours he should be relieved by Comrade 
Rykov). The presence of the non-presiding Deputy Chairman 
is obligatory at sessions of the Full Council of People's 
Commissars and at (plenary) sessions of the Council of 
Labour and Defence. 



Comrade Tsyurupa shall sign for publication in the press 
the decisions of the Full Council of People's Commissars 
and its telegraphic orders, and also supervise the work of 
the commissions of the Full and Narrow Councils of Peo- 
ple's Commissars and the work of the Narrow Council of 
People's Commissars. He shall closely supervise the work 
of the Executive Secretary and Secretariat of the Full Coun- 
cil of People's Commissars and at the same time be respon- 
sible for co-ordinating the activities of this staff with those 
of the staff of the Council of Labour and Defence and see 
that there is complete contact and harmony between them. 

30. Comrade Rykov shall preside at the plenary sessions 
of the Council of Labour and Defence, sign its decisions for 
publication in the press and also its telegraphic orders, 
and closely supervise the work of the Executive Secretary 
and Secretariat of the Council of Labour and Defence (with 
the aforementioned proviso that there is complete co- 
ordination between the work of this staff and that of the 
staff of the Full Council of People's Commissars). 

31. For the purpose of executive control, supervising 
the reduction of staffs and improving the machinery of 
administration, and also for the settlement of minor current 
questions that do not need the decision of the Full Council 
of People's Commissars and the Council of Labour and 
Defence, the People's Commissariats are to be divided 
between the two Deputy Chairmen as follows: 

Under Comrade Tsyurupa's supervision: 

People's Commissariat of Agriculture 
People's Commissariat of Railways 
Supreme Economic Council 
People's Commissariat of Post and Telegraph 
People's Commissariat of Justice 
People's Commissariat of the Interior 
People's Commissariat of Nationalities 
People's Commissariat of Education. 

Under Comrade Rykov's supervision: 

People's Commissariat of Finance 
People's Commissariat of Foreign Trade 
Internal Trade Commission 
Central Council of Co-operative Societies 



People's Commissariat of Labour (and in part the 

All-Russia Central Council of Trade Unions) 
People's Commissariat of Public Maintenance 
People's Commissariat of Food 
People's Commissariat of the Army and Navy 
People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs 
People's Commissariat of Public Health 
Central Statistical Board 
Regional Economic Conferences 
Concessions Committee 
State Planning Commission. 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin), 
Chairman of the Council of People's 


April 11, 1922 

First published in 1928 

Published according to 
the manuscript 



To Comrade Stalin (for the Political Bureau) 

April 15 

I have just received the book Materialy po istorii franko- 
russkikh otnosheni za 1910-1914 gody. 103 

This massive tome of 733 pages has been published with 
that disgraceful, truly Soviet slovenliness which ought to 
be punished by imprisonment. The price is not indicated. 
The responsible person or persons are not named. There is 
no index!! The simple list of names has been compiled 
carelessly. And so on. 

I suggest that: 

(1) Hanecki and Karakhan be given two days in 
which to find all the persons responsible for this publi- 

(2) hold up the sale of the book, 

(3) write a notice to be inserted in the book to indi- 
cate what is missing, 

(4) and draw up an intelligible index; in short, that 
by Thursday they should submit a brief report to the 
Central Committee on all these monstrosities — the 
defects in the publication, and on the ways of correcting 


P.S. M. N. Pokrovsky is named in the "Preface" — which 
is unsignedW He has worked on compiling the material but 
it is obvious that he is not responsible for the publication, 
for the way the book has been put out. 

Published for the first time, according 
to the manuscript 





This pamphlet has been published on the recommenda- 
tion of the Communists of Moscow, not on mine. I was, at 
first, opposed to the republication of this old stuff, as I 
considered it to be out of date. 

After reading the material prepared by the Moscow com- 
rades for publication I found that it was not as obsolete 
as might have been expected. In fact, most of it is not 
obsolete at all, in spite of the extremely turbulent and 
rapid revolutionary development of the past four years. 

The situation in the spring of 1922 duplicates on a broad 
scale the main features of the situation in the spring of 
1918. At that time we had a "respite" between two wars — 
between the imperialist war, which we brought to an end 
(it would be more correct to say almost brought to an end) 
in February 1918, and the Civil War, which did not come 
to an end with our first victory over counter-revolutionaries 
of the Bogayevsky type, but for which preparations were 
being made by the Czechoslovaks, Kornilov, Denikin 
and Co. 

Today Genoa represents another "respite" on a very much 
larger, on a world scale. It is a respite between the war 
against Soviet Russia, that was fought and lost by the world 
bourgeoisie, and the new war which this bourgeoisie is 
preparing, but is not yet ready for (I am writing these 
lines on April 28, 1922, when the latest news indicates the 
danger of a rupture). 

Now, as then, the "pivot" of Soviet policy is organisa- 
tion, accounting and control, a slow, cautious and business- 
like approach to practical tasks, to executive control and 



the study of our practical experience. I spoke about this at 
the Eleventh Congress of the R.C.P. a few weeks ago. The 
Congress accepted this "line", as is evident from the 
resolution it passed on the report of the Central Committee, 
and from other resolutions. And I tried to sum up that 
line in my speech in closing the Eleventh Congress. 

The republication of this old pamphlet of 1918 will 
be useful because the controversies that raged at that time 
will go a long way to explain the problems that face our 
Party today. Speeches like those delivered by Comrades 
Preobrazhensky, Osinsky and Larin during the debate on 
the report of the Central Committee at the Eleventh Party 
Congress clearly revealed that very many prominent and 
leading Party officials are not concentrating their attention 
on what they should. In their speeches they wrongly defined 
the "pivot" of the problems that now confront the Party. 
I hope to be able to discuss this matter with the reader in 
greater detail in the near future. For the time being, I 
must limit myself to the remark that the object of the pres- 
ent pamphlet is to explain why the task that was in the 
forefront when this pamphlet was first published was (and 
at the present time still is) "to learn to work efficiently", 
to learn how to put the right men in the right place, to 
establish individual responsibility for a definite job, care- 
fully to study and test practical experience instead of hank- 
ering after "new" plans of new government departments, 
or after new methods of organisation, reorganisation, and 
so forth. 

Just one more absolutely necessary remark in conclusion. 
I have deleted from this pamphlet the speech I delivered 
in closing the session of the All-Russia Central Executive 
Committee in the spring of 1918. 105 This speech was record- 
ed in such a way as to render it absolutely useless. I must 
repeat what I once wrote to the Petrograd comrades in 
1919, or 1920, in a letter intended for publication in the 
press, but which, unfortunately, they did not publish,* viz., 
that I cannot accept responsibility for the reports of my 
speeches in the way they are usually printed in the press, and 
I earnestly request that they should not be reprinted — except 

See pp. 121-23 of this volume.— Ed. 


in case of extreme necessity, and, in any case, together with 
my present definite statement. Whether it is due to the 
fact that I often speak too fast; whether in many cases my 
style of delivery is faulty, or whether the ordinary records 
of speeches are made too hurriedly and are very unsatisfac- 
tory — for all these reasons, and for certain others all taken 
together, the fact remains that I cannot accept responsibility 
for the text of my speeches as recorded, and request that 
they should not be reproduced. Let those who make these 
records be responsible. If it is necessary to reprint anything, 
there are plenty of pamphlets and articles that can be 
reprinted, and for the text of which I take full and complete 

April 28, 1922 

N. Lenin 

Published in the pamphlet 
Old Articles on Almost 
New Subjects, Moscow, 1922 

Published according to 
the manuscript 




On the night of April 9 enemies of the working class 
tried to destroy the Surakhan oilfields at Baku by fire. 
I have learned of instances of extraordinary heroism and 
courage displayed by the workers and engineers of the 
oilfields, who localised the fire at tremendous risk to their 
own lives, and consider it my duty to thank the workers 
and engineers of the Surakhan oilfields on behalf of Soviet 
Russia. These examples of heroism show better than 
anything else that despite all the difficulties, despite the 
uninterrupted conspiracies of the whiteguard Socialist- 
Revolutionary enemies of the workers' republic, the Soviet 
Republic will emerge triumphantly from all difficulties. 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 
Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars 

Written on April 28, 1922 
First published in 1942 

Published according to 
the original 
signed by Lenin 



It is ten years since Pravda, the legal — legal even under 
tsarist law — Bolshevik daily paper, was founded. This 
decade was preceded by, approximately, another decade: 
nine years (1903-12) since the emergence of Bolshevism, 
or thirteen years (1900-12), if we count from the founding 
in 1900 of the "Bolshevik-oriented" old Iskra. 106 

The tenth anniversary of a Bolshevik daily published in 
Russia.... Only ten years have elapsed! But measured in terms 
of our struggle and movement they are equal to a hundred 
years. For the pace of social development in the past five 
years has been positively staggering if we apply the old 
yardstick of European philistines like the heroes of the 
Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals. These civilised 
philistines are accustomed to regard as "natural" a situation 
in which hundreds of millions of people (over a thousand 
million, to be exact) in the colonies and in semi-dependent 
and poor countries tolerate the treatment meted out to 
Indians or Chinese, tolerate incredible exploitation, and 
outright depredation, and hunger, and violence, and humi- 
liation, all in order that "civilised" men might "freely", 
"democratically", according to "parliamentary procedure", 
decide whether the booty should be divided up peacefully, 
or whether ten million or so must be done to death in this 
division of the imperialist booty, yesterday between Ger- 
many and Britain, tomorrow between Japan and the U.S.A. 
(with France and Britain participating in one form or 

The basic reason for this tremendous acceleration of 
world development is that new hundreds of millions of 
people have been drawn into it. The old bourgeois and 



imperialist Europe, which was accustomed to look upon 
itself as the centre of the universe, rotted and burst like 
a putrid ulcer in the first imperialist holocaust. No matter 
how the Spenglers and all the enlightened philistines, who 
are capable of admiring (or even studying) Spengler, may 
lament it, this decline of the old Europe is but an episode 
in the history of the downfall of the world bourgeoisie, 
oversatiated by imperialist rapine and the oppression of 
the majority of the world's population. 

That majority has now awakened and has begun a move- 
ment which even the "mightiest" powers cannot stem. They 
stand no chance. For the present "victors" in the first 
imperialist slaughter have not the strength to defeat small — 
tiny, I might say — Ireland, nor can they emerge victori- 
ous from the confusion in currency and finance issues that 
reigns in their own midst. Meanwhile, India and China 
are seething. They represent over 700 million people, and 
together with the neighbouring Asian countries, that are 
in all ways similar to them, over half of the world's inhab- 
itants. Inexorably and with mounting momentum they 
are approaching their 1905, with the essential and important 
difference that in 1905 the revolution in Russia could still 
proceed (at any rate at the beginning) in isolation, that is, 
without other countries being immediately drawn in. But 
the revolutions that are maturing in India and China are 
being drawn into — have already been drawn into — the 
revolutionary struggle, the revolutionary movement, the 
world revolution. 

The tenth anniversary of Pravda, the legal Bolshevik 
daily, is a clearly defined marker of this great acceleration 
of the greatest world revolution. In 1906-07, it seemed 
that the tsarist government had completely crushed the 
revolution. A few years later the Bolshevik Party was 
able — in a different form, by a different method — to penetrate 
into the very citadel of the enemy and daily, "legally", 
proceed with its work of undermining the accursed tsarist 
and landowner autocracy from within. A few more years 
passed, and the proletarian revolution, organised by Bol- 
shevism, triumphed. 

Some ten or so revolutionaries shared in the founding 
of the old Iskra in 1900, and only about forty attended the 



birth of Bolshevism at the illegal congresses in Brussels 
and London in 1903. 107 

In 1912-13, when the legal Bolshevik Pravda came into 
being it had the support of hundreds of thousands of work- 
ers, who by their modest contributions 108 were able to 
overcome both the oppression of tsarism and the competi- 
tion of the Mensheviks, those petty-bourgeois traitors to 

In November 1917, nine million electors out of a total 
of thirty-six million voted for the Bolsheviks in the elections 
to the Constituent Assembly. But if we take the actual 
struggle, and not merely the elections, at the close of Octo- 
ber and in November 1917, the Bolsheviks had the support 
of the majority of the proletariat and class-conscious peas- 
antry, as represented by the majority of the delegates at 
the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets, and by the 
majority of the most active and politically conscious section 
of the working people, namely, the twelve-million-strong 
army of that day. 

These few figures illustrating the "acceleration" of the 
world revolutionary movement in the past twenty years 
give a very small and very incomplete picture. They afford 
only a very approximate idea of the history of no more 
than 150 million people, whereas in these twenty years 
the revolution has developed into an invincible force in 
countries with a total population of over a thousand mil- 
lion (the whole of Asia, not to forget South Africa, which 
recently reminded the world of its claim to human and not 
slavish existence, and by methods which were not alto- 
gether "parliamentary"). 

Some infant Spenglers — I apologise for the expression — 
may conclude (every variety of nonsense can be expected 
from the "clever" leaders of the Second and Two-and-a- 
Half Internationals) that this estimate of the revolutionary 
forces fails to take into account the European and American 
proletariat. These "clever" leaders always argue as if the 
fact that birth comes nine months after conception neces- 
sarily means that the exact hour and minute of birth can 
be defined beforehand, also the position of the infant during 
delivery, the condition of the mother and the exact degree 
of pain and danger both will suffer. Very "clever"! These 



gentry cannot for the life of them understand that from the 
point of view of the development of the international 
revolution the transition from Chartism to Henderson's ser- 
vility to the bourgeoisie, or the transition from Varlin to 
Renaudel, from Wilhelm Liebknecht and Bebel to Siide- 
kum, Scheidemann and Noske, can only be likened to an 
automobile passing from a smooth highway stretching for 
hundreds of miles to a dirty stinking puddle of a few yards 
in length on that highway. 

Men are the makers of history. But the Chartists, the 
Varlins and the Liebknechts applied their minds and hearts 
to it. The leaders of the Second and Two-and-a-Half 
Internationals apply other parts of the anatomy: they 
fertilise the ground for the appearance of new Chartists, 
new Varlins and new Liebknechts. 

At this most difficult moment it would be most harmful 
for revolutionaries to indulge in self-deception. Though 
Bolshevism has become an international force, though in 
all the civilised and advanced countries new Chartists, 
new Varlins, new Liebknechts have been born, and are 
growing up as legal (just as legal as our Pravda was under 
the tsars ten years ago) Communist Parties, nonetheless, for 
the time being, the international bourgeoisie still remains 
incomparably stronger than its class enemy. This bourgeoi- 
sie, which has done everything in its power to hamper the 
birth of proletarian power in Russia and to multiply ten- 
fold the dangers and suffering attending its birth, is still 
in a position to condemn millions and tens of millions to 
torment and death through its whiteguard and imperialist 
wars, etc. That is something we must not forget. And we 
must skilfully adapt our tactics to this specific situation. 
The bourgeoisie is still able freely to torment, torture and 
kill. But it cannot halt the inevitable and — from the stand- 
point of world history — not far distant triumph of the 
revolutionary proletariat. 

May 2, 1922 

Pravda No. 98, 

May 5, 1922 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 



To Comrade Stalin with the request to pass it on (do 
not duplicate it — to do so would give publicity to pole- 
mics) to members of the Political Bureau and Comrade Tsyuru- 
pa (asking them to sign it and give the date when they 

have read it) 

I am sorry for replying belatedly, but the delay was 
caused by the removal of the bullet. 109 

Comrade Rykov's remarks are "critical", but not con- 
crete and do not require an answer. 

I consider Comrade Tomsky's remarks on the bonus sys- 
tem incorrect. The collapse of the trade union bonus system, 
which, according to Comrade Tomsky, has degenerated into 
"robbery of the state", must force us to be more persevering 
in studying and improving the methods of applying the 
bonus system, but we must not reject it. 

Some of Comrade Trotsky's remarks are likewise vague (for 
example, the "apprehensions" in paragraph 4) and do not 
require an answer; other remarks made by him renew old 
disagreements, that we have repeatedly observed in the 
Political Bureau. I shall reply to these on two main points: 
a) the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection and b) the State 
Planning Commission. 

a) As regards the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection, 
Comrade Trotsky is fundamentally wrong. In view of the 
hidebound "departmentalism" that prevails even among the 
best Communists, the low standard of efficiency of the 
employees and the internal intrigues in the departments 
(worse than any Workers' and Peasants' Inspection intrigues), 
we cannot at the moment dispense with the Workers' 



and Peasants' Inspection. A lot of hard and systematic 
work has to be put in to convert it into an apparatus for 
investigating and improving all government work. We have 
no other practical means of investigating, improving and 
giving instruction in this work. If the Workers' and Peas- 
ants' Inspection now has an inefficient and underpaid 
staff of 12,000, that staff should be reduced and improved; 
for example, reduce it to one-sixth and the payroll by half, 
i.e., raise salaries threefold; at first select a few dozen and 
later hundreds of the best, absolutely honest and most 
efficient employees, who are now available but not registered, 
not selected, not put in any group and not organised. 
This can and must be done; if not, it will be impossible 
to combat departmentalism and red tape, it will be impos- 
sible to teach non-Party workers and peasants the art of 
administration, which is a task that at the present time we 
cannot shirk either in principle or in practice. 

b) As regards the State Planning Commission, Comrade 
Trotsky is not only absolutely wrong but is judging some- 
thing on which he is amazingly ill-informed. The State 
Planning Commission does not suffer from academic meth- 
ods. On the contrary, it suffers from an overload of much 
too much petty, routine "vermicelli". Comrade Krzhizha- 
novsky, because he is soft-hearted, gives way much too 
easily to those who ask him for urgent assistance. Pyatakov, 
the new Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Commis- 
sion, will, I hope, be "stricter" and help to rid the State 
Planning Commission of its shortcoming, which is quite 
the opposite of "academic methods". 

Since I know full well the real shortcomings of the State 
Planning Commission, and in order to provide the members 
of the Political Bureau with factual, objective material 
and not with figments of the imagination, I asked Comrade 
Krzhizhanovsky if his work suffered from "abstractness" 
and what the exact facts about it were. Comrade Krzhi- 
zhanovsky sent me a list of the questions that have piled 
up before the Presidium of the State Planning Commission 
in the course of two months: February and March 1922. 
Result: aa) questions concerning planning — 17 per cent; 
bb) questions of an important economic nature — 37 per 
cent; cc) "vermicelli" — 46 per cent. I can send this mate- 


rial to any member of the Political Bureau who would like 
to see it. 

The second paper from Comrade Trotsky, dated April 23, 
1922, and addressed to the Deputy Chairmen with a copy 
to the Secretariat of the Political Bureau (the copy was evi- 
dently posted to me by mistake), contains, first, an extremely 
excited but profoundly erroneous "criticism" of the Polit- 
ical Bureau decree on setting up a financial triumvirate 
(Sokolnikov and two deputies) as a brake between the 
Narrow and Full Councils of People's Commissars. The 
sending of this criticism to the Deputy Chairmen is not 
in conformity either with planned or, in general, with any 
organised state activity. 

Secondly, this paper flings the same fundamentally wrong 
and intrinsically untrue accusations of academic method 
at the State Planning Commission, accusations which lead 
up to the next incredibly uninformed statement by Comrade 
Trotsky. "At present," he writes, "there neither is nor can 
be an economic plan without establishing the quantity of 
money issued and without distributing cash funds between 
the departments. Yet, as far as I can judge, the State Plan- 
ning Commission has nothing whatever to do with these basic 

The underscored words only make me want to ask the 
question: Why "judge" something about which you are 
uninformed? Any member of the C.C. or the Council of 
Labour and Defence could easily get the information he 
needs, and if he tried he would learn that the State Plan- 
ning Commission has a financial and economic section, which 
deals precisely with the above questions. There are short- 
comings in this work, of course, but they must not be sought 
in academic methods but in exactly the opposite direction. 


Written on May 5, 1922 Published according to 

First published the manuscript 

in abridged form, 
in 1928 in Lenin Miscellany VIII 



The All-Russia Central Executive Committee's draft 
resolution on Joffe's report should be drawn up approxi- 
mately as follows: 

1. The delegation of the All-Russia Central Executive 
Committee has carried out its task correctly in upholding 
the full sovereignty of the R.S.F.S.R., opposing attempts 
to force the country into bondage and restore private prop- 
erty, and in concluding a treaty with Germany. 

2. The international political and economic situation 
is characterised by the following features. 

Political: the absence of peace and the danger of fresh 
imperialist wars [Ireland, India, China and others; wors- 
ening of relations between Britain and France, between 
Japan and the United States, etc., etc. ((in greater detail))]. 

3. Economic: the "victor" countries, exceedingly 
powerful and enriched by the war (=by plunder), have not 
been able to re-establish even the former capitalist relations 
three and a half years after the war [currency chaos; non- 
fulfilment of the Treaty of Versailles and the impossibility 
of its fulfilment; non-payment of debts to the United States, 
etc., etc. {in greater detail)]. 

4. Therefore, Article One of the Cannes resolutions, by 
recognising the equality of the two property systems (capi- 
talist or private property, and communist property, so 
far accepted only in the R.S.F.S.R.), is thus compelled 



to recognise, even if only indirectly, the collapse, the bank- 
ruptcy of the first property system and the inevitability 
of its coming to an agreement with the second, on terms of 

5. The other articles of the Cannes terms, as well as the 
memoranda, etc., of the powers at Genoa, are in contradic- 
tion to this and are, therefore, still-born. 

6. True equality of the two property systems — if only 
as a temporary state, until such time as the entire world 
abandons private property and the economic chaos and wars 
engendered by it for the higher property system — is found 
only in the Treaty of Rapallo. 110 

The All-Russia Central Executive Committee, therefore: 

welcomes the Treaty of Rapallo as the only correct way 
out of the difficulties, chaos and danger of wars (as long 
as there remain two property systems, one of them as 
obsolete as capitalist property); 

recognises only this type of treaty as normal for relations 
between the R.S.F.S.R. and capitalist countries; 

instructs the Council of People's Commissars and the 
People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs to pursue a policy 
along these lines; 

instructs the Presidium of the All-Russia Central Execu- 
tive Committee to confirm it by agreement with all repub- 
lics that are in federal relations with the R.S.F.S.R.; 

instructs the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs 
and the Council of People's Commissars to permit devia- 
tions from the Rapallo-type treaty only in exceptional 
circumstances that gain very special advantages for the 
working people of the R.S.F.S.R., etc. 

Written on May 15 or 16, 1922 
Published for the first time 

Published according to 
the manuscript 



May 17, 1922 

Comrade Kursky, 

Further to our conversation, I herewith enclose the 
draft of an article supplementary to the Criminal Code. 111 
It is a rough draft and, of course, needs altering and pol- 
ishing up. The main idea will be clear, I hope, in spite of 
the faulty drafting — to put forward publicly a thesis that 
is correct in principle and politically (not only strictly 
juridical), which explains the substance of terror, its necessity 
and limits, and provides justification for it. 

The courts must not ban terror — to promise that would 
be deception or self-deception — but must formulate the 
motives underlying it, legalise it as a principle, plainly, 
without any make-believe or embellishment. It must be 
formulated in the broadest possible manner, for only 
revolutionary law and revolutionary conscience can more or 
less widely determine the limits within which it should be 

With communist greetings, 



Propaganda or agitation, or membership of, or assistance 
given to organisations the object of which (propaganda and 
agitation) is to assist that section of the international bour- 
geoisie which refuses to recognise the rights of the commu- 
nist system of ownership that is superseding capitalism, 
and is striving to overthrow that system by violence, either 
by means of foreign intervention or blockade, or by 
espionage, financing the press, and similar means, 



is an offence punishable by death, which, if mitigating 
circumstances are proved, may be commuted to depri- 
vation of liberty, or deportation. 


a) Propaganda or agitation that objectively serves (var- 
iant 2b) the interests of that section of the international 
bourgeoisie which, etc., to the end. 

b) Persons convicted of belonging to, or assisting, such 
organisations, or persons who conduct activities of the 
aforesaid character (whose activities bear the aforesaid char- 
acter), shall be liable to the same penalty. 

Variant 2b: 

or is likely 
to serve. 

First published in 1924 

Published according to 
the manuscript 


OF THE C.C., R.C.P.(B.) 


To Comrade Stalin with the request to pass this round to 
all members of the Political Bureau 

Comrade Stalin, 

Appended are two reports. The first from Professor Osad- 
chy, an expert on electricity, about radio-telegraph and 
telephone communication; the second is from Bonch-Bruye- 
vich (who is not related to the well-known Bonch-Bruye- 
vich brothers, one of whom was the Executive Secretary 
of the Council of People's Commissars, and the other an 
outstanding tsarist general). This Bonch-Bruyevich, whose 
report I append, is a prominent specialist and inventor 
in radio engineering and one of the principal figures at the 
Nizhni-Novgorod Radio Laboratory. 

These reports show that it is technically quite feasible 
to broadcast human speech over any distance by wireless; 
furthermore, it is also possible to use many hundreds of 
stations that could broadcast speeches, reports and lectures 
delivered in Moscow to many hundreds of places throughout 
the Republic, situated hundreds and, under certain con- 
ditions, thousands of versts away from Moscow. 

I think that from the standpoint of propaganda and 
agitation, especially for those masses of the population 
who are illiterate, and also for broadcasting lectures, it 
is absolutely necessary for us to carry out this plan. Con- 



sidering the unfitness of most of the bourgeois professors 
of social sciences whom we are using and even the harm 
caused by them, we have no other way out than to enable 
our few communist professors, who are capable of deliver- 
ing lectures on social sciences, to deliver these lectures 
for hundreds of localities in all parts of the Federation. 

I am, therefore, of the opinion that under no circum- 
stances should we stint funds to complete the organisation 
of wireless communication and produce efficiently working 

I propose that we pass a decision to allocate, as an 
extraordinary measure, a sum of up to 100,000 rubles from 
the gold fund over and above the estimate to organise the 
work at the Nizhni-Novgorod Radio Laboratory in order 
to accelerate to the maximum the completion of the work it 
has begun to instal efficient loudspeakers and many hun- 
dreds of stations throughout the Republic, which can repeat 
for the broad masses the speeches, reports and lectures 
delivered in Moscow or some other centre. 

The Council of Labour and Defence must be instructed 
to organise special supervision over the expenditure of 
this fund and, perhaps, if it proves to be expedient, to 
institute bonuses from the above fund for specially rapid 
and successful work. 

Let me add that today's Izvestia carries a report about 
an English invention in radio-telegraphy that transmits 
radio-telegrams secretly. If we managed to buy this 
invention, radio-telephone and radio-telegraph commu- 
nication would be of further tremendous significance for 
military purposes. 

May 19, 1922 Lenin 

First published in 
Pravda No. 21, 
January 21, 1919 

Dictated by telephone 
Published according to 
a typewritten copy 




Comrade Stalin, 

Re today's paper from Bonch-Bruyevich I think that 
we cannot finance the Radio Laboratory from the gold 
fund without special assignments. 

I therefore propose instructing the Council of Labour 
and Defence to find out what expenditures are necessary to 
enable the Radio Laboratory to accelerate to the maximum 
the improvement and production of loudspeaking telephones 
and receivers. This is the only thing for which we should, 
in my opinion, allocate a definite sum of gold over and 
above the estimate. 

May 19, 1922 Lenin 

First published in 1945 
in Lenin Miscellany XXXV 

Dictated by telephone 

Published according to 
a typewritten copy 



To Comrade Stalin for the Political Bureau 

The question of the procuratorship has given rise to 
disagreement on the commission appointed by the Central 
Committee to direct the proceedings of the All-Russia 
Central Executive Committee session. If these disagreements 
do not cause this question to be brought before the Political 
Bureau automatically, I propose, in view of its extreme 
importance, that it be brought up in any case. 

In substance, the point at issue is the following: On the 
question of the procuratorship, the majority of the commis- 
sion elected by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee 
expressed opposition to the proposal that local procurators 
should be appointed solely by the central authority and 
be subordinate solely to the latter. The majority demands 
what is called "dual" subordination, the system that 
applies to all local officials, i.e., subordination to the central 
authority in the shape of the respective People's Commis- 
sariat, and also to the Gubernia Executive Committee. 

The same majority of the commission of the All-Russia 
Central Executive Committee denies the right of local 
procurators to challenge the legality of decisions passed 
by gubernia executive committees, and by local authorities 

I cannot imagine on what grounds this obviously falla- 
cious decision of the majority of the commission of the All- 
Russia Central Executive Committee can be justified. 
The only argument I have heard in support of it is that 
defence of "dual" subordination in this case means legiti- 
mate opposition to bureaucratic centralism, defending the 



necessary independence of the local authorities, and pro- 
tecting the officials of the gubernia executive committees 
from high-handed conduct by the central authorities. Is 
there anything high-handed in the view that law cannot 
be Kaluga law or Kazan law, but that it must be uniform 
all-Russia law, and even uniform for the entire federation 
of Soviet Republics? The underlying fallacy of the view 
which has prevailed among the majority of the commission 
of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee is that they 
wrongly apply the principle of "dual" subordination. "Dual" 
subordination is needed where it is necessary to allow for 
a really inevitable difference. Agriculture in Kaluga Gu- 
bernia differs from that in Kazan Gubernia. The same thing 
can be said about industry; and it can be said about admin- 
istration, or management, as a whole. Failure to make 
allowances for local differences in all these matters would 
mean slipping into bureaucratic centralism, and so forth. 
It would mean preventing the local authorities from giving 
proper consideration to specific local features, which is the 
basis of all rational administration. Nevertheless, the law 
must be uniform, and the root evil of our social life, and 
of our lack of culture, is our pandering to the ancient Rus- 
sian view and semi-savage habit of mind, which wishes 
to preserve Kaluga law as distinct from Kazan law. It 
must be borne in mind that, unlike the administration 
authorities, the procurator has no administrative powers, 
and has no power to decide any question of administration. 
His rights and duties are reduced to one function, viz., to 
see that the law is really uniformly interpreted throughout 
the Republic, notwithstanding differences in local condi- 
tions, and in spite of all local influences. The only right 
and duty of the procurator is to take the matter before the 
court. What sort of court? Our courts are local courts. Our 
judges are elected by the local Soviets. Hence, the authority 
to which the procurator submits a case of infringement of 
the law is a local authority which, on the one hand, must 
strictly abide by the laws uniformly established for the 
whole Federation and, on the other hand, in determining 
the penalty, must take all local circumstances into con- 
sideration. And it has the right to say that although there 
has been a definite infringement of the law in a given case, 



nevertheless, certain circumstances, with which local peo- 
ple are closely familiar, and which come to light in the local 
court, compel the court to mitigate the penalty to which 
the culprit is liable, or even acquit him. Unless we strictly 
adhere to this most elementary condition for maintaining 
the uniformity of the law for the whole Federation, it 
will be utterly impossible to protect the law, or to develop 
any kind of culture. 

Similarly, it is wrong in principle to argue that procu- 
rators should not have the right to challenge the decisions 
of gubernia executive committees, or of other local author- 
ities; that legally the latter come under the jurisdiction 
of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection. 

The Workers' and Peasants' Inspection judges not only 
from the viewpoint of the law, but also from the viewpoint 
of expediency. The procurator must see to it that not a 
single decision passed by any local authority runs counter 
to the law, and only from this aspect is it his duty to chal- 
lenge every illegal decision. He has no right to suspend 
such a decision; he must only take measures to secure that 
the interpretation of the law is absolutely uniform through- 
out the Republic. Hence, the decision of the majority 
of the commission of the All-Russia Central Executive 
Committee is not only utterly wrong in principle, it not 
only applies the principle of "dual" subordination in an 
utterly fallacious manner, but it also hinders all efforts to 
establish uniformity of the law and develop at least the 
minimum of culture. 

Further, in deciding this question, it is necessary to take 
into account the weight of local influence. Undoubtedly, 
we are living amidst an ocean of illegality, and local 
influence is one of the greatest, if not the greatest obstacle 
to the establishment of law and culture. There is scarcely 
anyone who has not heard that the purging of the Party 
revealed the prevalence, in the majority of local purging 
committees, of personal spite and local strife in the process 
of purging the Party. This fact is incontrovertible, and 
significant. Scarcely anyone will dare deny that it is easier 
for the Party to find half a score of reliable Communists 
who possess an adequate legal education and are capable 
of resisting all purely local influences than to find hundreds 



of them. And this is precisely what the question boils down 
to in discussing whether procurators should be subject to 
"dual" subordination, or to subordination solely to the 
central authorities. At the centre we must find about half 
a score of men to exercise the functions of the central proc- 
urator authority represented by the Procurator General, 
the Supreme Tribunal, and the Collegium of the People's 
Commissariat of Justice (I leave aside the question as to 
whether the Procurator General should be the sole authority, 
or whether he should share his authority with the Supreme 
Tribunal and the Collegium of the People's Commis- 
sariat of Justice, for this is purely a secondary question, 
and can be settled, one way or another, in accordance with 
whether the Party will delegate vast authority to one per- 
son, or divide that authority among the three aforesaid 
bodies). These ten should work at the centre, under the 
closest supervision of and in closest contact with the three 
Party bodies which provide the most reliable barrier against 
local and personal influences, viz., the Organising Bureau 
of the Central Committee, the Political Bureau of the Cen- 
tral Committee, and the Central Control Commission. The 
latter body, i.e., the Central Control Commission, is respon- 
sible only to the Party Congress, and is constructed in 
such a way that no member of it can hold a position in any 
People's Commissariat, government department, or any 
organ of the Soviet government. It is clear that under these 
circumstances we have the greatest guarantee so far devised 
that the Party will set up a small central collegium that 
will be really capable of resisting local influences and local, 
and all other, bureaucracy, and which will establish real 
uniformity in the application of the laws throughout the 
Republic, and throughout the Federation. Hence, any mis- 
take that this central legal collegium may make can be 
at once rectified on the spot by the Party bodies, which 
determine all the fundamental concepts and lay down all 
the fundamental rules for all our Party and Soviet activities 
throughout the Republic. 

To depart from this would mean dragging in on the sly 
a view which nobody can defend openly and frankly, viz., 
that culture and law, which is its necessary concomitant, 
are so highly developed in our country that we can guarantee 



to find hundreds of absolutely irreproachable procurators 
capable of resisting all local influences, and of establish- 
ing uniformity of the law throughout the Republic by 
their own efforts. 

To sum up, I draw the conclusion that to defend the 
"dual" subordination of procurators, and to deprive them 
of the right to challenge any decision passed by the local 
authorities, is not only wrong in principle, not only hind- 
ers our fundamental task of constantly introducing respect 
for the law, but is also an expression of the interests and 
prejudices of local bureaucrats and local influences, i.e., 
the most pernicious wall that stands between the working 
people and the local and central Soviet authorities, as well 
as the central authority of the Russian Communist Party. 

I therefore propose that the Central Committee should 
reject "dual" subordination in this matter, establish the 
subordination of local procurators solely to the central 
authority, and allow the procurator to retain the right and 
duty to challenge the legality of any decision or order 
passed by the local authorities with the proviso, however, 
that he shall have no right to suspend such decisions; he 
shall only have the right to bring them before the courts. 


Dictated by telephone 
on May 20, 1922 

Published according to 
the stenographer's notes 
(typewritten copy) 

First published 
in Pravda No. 91, 
April 23, 1925 



Citizen 0. A. Yermansky has written a very good, useful 
book: The Taylor System and the Scientific Organisation 
of Labour (Gosizdat, 1922). It is a revised edition of his 
book, The Taylor System, which first appeared in 1918. 
The book has been substantially enlarged; very important 
supplements have been added: I. "Productive Labour and 
Culture"; II. "The Problem of Fatigue". One of the most 
important sections, earlier entitled "Labour and Leisure", 
only 16 pages long, has now been enlarged to 70 pages 
(Chapter III: "Human Labour"). 

The book gives a detailed exposition of the Taylor system 
and, this is especially important, both its positive and negative 
aspects, and also the principal scientific data on the phy- 
siological intake and output in the human machine. On 
the whole the book is quite suitable, I think, as a standard 
textbook for all trade union schools and for all secondary 
schools in general. To learn how to work is now the main, 
the truly national task of the Soviet Republic. Our primary 
and most important task is to attain universal literacy, 
but we should in no circumstances limit ourselves to this 
target. We must at all costs go beyond it and adopt every- 
thing that is truly valuable in European and American 

Citizen Yermansky's book has one serious flaw which 
may make it unacceptable as a textbook. It is the author's 
verbosity. He repeats the same thing again and again with- 
out any conceivable need. I suppose the author may be 
vindicated to some extent by the fact that he was not trying 
to write a textbook. However, he says on p. VIII that he 
regards the popular exposition of scientific questions as 



one of the merits of his book. He is right. But popular 
exposition should also shun repetition. The people have 
no time to waste on bulky volumes. Without good reason, 
Citizen Yermansky's book is much too bulky. That is what 
prevents it from being a popular book....* 

Written after Published according to 

September 10, 1922 the manuscript 

First published in 1928 

* Here the manuscript breaks off. — Ed. 



September 17, 1922 

Dear Comrades, 

This is the first time since my long illness that I am able 
to address a Congress, even though in writing. Permit me, 
therefore, to confine myself to expressing to you my cordial 
greetings, and to a few brief remarks on the position and 
tasks of our industry and of our Republic. Our position is 
particularly difficult because we lack the means to restore 
our fixed assets, i.e., machinery, tools, buildings, etc.; 
and it is precisely that part of industry known as heavy 
industry which is the main basis of socialism. In capitalist 
countries these fixed assets are usually restored by means 
of loans. We are refused loans until we restore the property 
of the capitalists and landowners; but this we cannot and 
will not do. The only road open to us is the long and 
extremely arduous road of slowly accumulating our savings, 
of raising taxes in order to be able gradually to repair our 
destroyed railways, machinery, buildings, etc. So far, we 
are the only country in the world in which the working 
peasants, under the leadership of the workers, are building 
socialism, flatly rejecting the leadership of the bour- 
geoisie who, under cover of florid phrases about democracy, 
liberty, etc., are actually consolidating the private owner- 
ship of the capitalists and landowners and establishing the 
rule of a handful of rich men who have divided the entire 
globe among themselves and are fighting one another for 
its redivision, for the enslavement of hundreds of millions 
of people in the weaker and more backward nations. 


As long as we remain in the field alone the task of 
restoring our economy will be an extremely heavy burden 
on our shoulders. All the peasants and all the workers 
will have to exert themselves to the very utmost; our 
machinery of state, which is still working very inefficiently, 
must be improved and made less costly so that we may 
improve the conditions of the working people, and, to 
some extent at least, restore our economy, which was 
destroyed by the imperialist and civil wars. 

Let every politically conscious peasant and worker who 
may become despondent over our hard conditions of life, 
or over the extremely slow progress of our work of state 
construction, remember the recent past, when the capital- 
ists and landowners were in power. This will give him 
new zest in his work. The only way to save the workers' 
and peasants' rule is to make every effort to intensify and 
improve our work in all fields. 

With comradely greetings, 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 

Published in Trud on Published according to 

September 18, 1922 the manuscript 

and in Pravda No. 210 
on September 19, 1922 



I declare war to the death on dominant nation chauvin- 
ism. I shall eat it with all my healthy teeth as soon as I 
get rid of this accused bad tooth. 

It must be absolutely insisted that the Union Central 
Executive Committee should be presided over in turn by a 



Georgian, etc. 




Written on October 6, 1922 

First published in Pravda 
No. 21 on January 21, 1937 

Published according to 
the manuscript 



Moscow, October 6, 1922 

Dear Comrades, 

I have just heard Comrade Serebrovsky's brief report 
on the situation in the Azerbaijan oilfields. The difficulties 
of the situation are by no means small. I send you my cor- 
dial greetings and urge you to do all you can to hold on 
for the immediate future. Things are always particularly 
difficult at first. Later on it will be easier. We must win, 
and we shall do so at all costs. 

Once more, my most cordial communist greetings. 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 

Published in Bakinsky Rabochy 
No. 251, November 7, 1922 

Published according to 
the manuscript 



Dear Friends, 

I regret very much that I am unable to greet you in person. 
I wish your Fifth Congress every success in its work. I 
am convinced that the youth will make such good progress 
that when the next stage of the world revolution approaches 
they will be fully capable of coping with their tasks. 

With cordial communist greetings, 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 

October 11, 1922 

Pravda No. 230, 
October 12, 1922 

Published according to 
the manuscript 


OF THE C.C., R.C.P.(B.) RE 

To Comrade Stalin, Secretary of the C.C. 

October 13, 1922 

The decision of the Plenary Meeting of the C.C. of 
October 6 (Minutes No. 7, Point 3) institutes what seems to 
be an unimportant, partial reform: "implement a number of 
separate decisions of the Council of Labour and Defence on 
temporary permission for the import and export of indi- 
vidual categories of goods or on granting the permission for 
specific frontiers". 

In actual fact, however, this wrecks the foreign trade 
monopoly. Small wonder that Comrade Sokolnikov has been 
trying to get this done and has succeeded. He has always 
been for it; he likes paradoxes and has always undertaken 
to prove that monopoly is not to our advantage. But it is 
surprising that people, who in principle favour the monopo- 
ly, have voted for this without asking for detailed informa- 
tion from any of the business executives. 

What does the decision that has been adopted signify? 

Purchasing offices are being opened for the import and 
export trade. The owner of such an office has the right 
to buy and sell only specially listed goods. 

Where is the control over this? Where are the means 
of control? 

In Russia flax costs 4 rubles 50 kopeks, in Britain it 
costs 14 rubles. All of us have read in Capital how capital- 
ism changes internally and grows more daring when 
interest rates and profits rise quickly. All of us recall that 



capitalism is capable of taking deadly risks and that Marx 
recognised this long before the war and before capitalism 
began its "leaps". 

What is the situation now? What force is capable of 
holding the peasants and the traders from extremely prof- 
itable deals? Cover Russia with a network of overseers? 
Catch the neighbour in a purchasing office and prove that 
his lax has been sold to be smuggled out of the country? 

Comrade Sokolnikov's paradoxes are always clever, but 
one must distinguish between paradoxes and the grim truth. 

No "legality" on such a question is at all possible in 
the Russian countryside. No comparison with smuggling 
in general ("All the same," they say, "smuggling is also 
flourishing in spite of the monopoly") is in any way cor- 
rect; it is one thing to deal with the professional smuggler 
on the frontier and another with all the peasantry, who 
will all defend themselves and fight the authorities when 
they try to deprive them of the profit "belonging to them". 

Before we have had an opportunity to test the monopoly 
system, which is only just beginning to bring us millions 
(and will give us tens of millions and more), we are introduc- 
ing complete chaos; we are shaking loose the very supports 
that we have only just begun to strengthen. 

We have begun to build up a system; the foreign trade 
monopoly and the co-operatives are both only in the process 
of being built up. Some results will be forthcoming in a 
year or two. The profit from foreign trade runs into hundreds 
per cent, and we are beginning to receive millions and tens 
of millions. We have begun to build up mixed companies; 
we have begun to learn to receive half of their (monstrous) 
profits. We can already see signs of very substantial state 
profits. We are giving this up in the hope of duties which 
cannot yield any comparable profit; we are giving every- 
thing up and chasing a spectre! 

The question was brought up at the Plenary Meeting 
hastily. There was no serious discussion worth mentioning. 
We have no reason for haste. Our business executives are 
only just beginning to go into things. Is there anything 
like a correct approach to the matter when major questions 
of trade policy are decided in a slapdash manner, without 
collecting the pertinent material, without weighing the 



pros and cons with documents and figures? Tired people 
vote in a few minutes and that's the end of it. We have 
weighed less complicated political questions over and over 
again and frequently it took us several months to reach 
a decision. 

I regret it very much that illness prevented me from 
attending the meeting on that day and that I am now com- 
pelled to seek an exception to the rule. 

But I think that the question must be weighed and 
studied, that haste is harmful. 

I propose that the decision on this question be deferred 
for two months, i.e., until the next Plenary Meeting; in 
the interim information and verified documents on the 
experience of our trade policy should be collected. 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 

P.S. In the conversation I had with Comrade Stalin 
yesterday (I did not attend the Plenary Meeting and tried 
to get my information from the comrades who were there), 
we spoke, incidentally, of the proposal temporarily to 
open the Petrograd and Novorossiisk ports. It seems to 
me that both examples show the extreme danger of such 
experiments even for a most restricted list of goods. The 
opening of the Petrograd port would intensify the smug- 
gling of flax across the Finnish frontier to prodigious pro- 
portions. Instead of combating professional smugglers we 
shall have to combat all the peasantry of the flax-growing 
region. In this fight we shall almost assuredly be beaten, 
and beaten irreparably. The opening of the Novorossiisk 
port would quickly drain us of surplus grain. Is this a cau- 
tious policy at a time when our reserves for war are small? 
When a series of systematic measures to increase them have 
not yet had time to show results? 

Then the following should be given consideration. The 
foreign trade monopoly has started a stream of gold into 
Russia. It is only just becoming possible to calculate; the 
first trip of such-and-such a merchant to Russia for six 
months has given him, say, hundreds per cent of profit; 
he increases his price for this right from 25 to 50 per cent 
in favour of the Commissariat of Foreign Trade. Further- 



more, it has become possible for us to learn and to increase 
this profit. Everything will at once collapse, the whole 
work will stop, because if here and there various ports are 
opened for a time, not a single merchant will pay a penny 
for this kind of "monopoly" . That is obvious. Before taking 
such a risk things have to be thought over and weighed 
several times. Besides there is the political risk of letting 
through not foreign merchants by name, which we check, 
but the entire petty bourgeoisie in general. 

With the start of foreign trade we have begun to reckon 
on an influx of gold. I see no other settlement except for 
a liquor monopoly, but here there are very serious moral 
considerations, and also some business-like objections from 


P.P.S. I have just been informed (1.30 hours) that some 
business executives have applied for a postponement. I 
have not yet read this application, but I whole-heartedly 
support it. It is only a matter of two months. 


Published for the first time 
according to the manuscript 



Dear Comrades, 

The strengthening of Soviet finances is one of the most 
difficult problems before us; but at present it stands in the 
forefront, and unless it is solved it will be impossible to 
make any considerable progress either in safeguarding the 
independence of Soviet Russia from international capital 
or in developing our industry and culture. Our financial 
organisations must do their utmost to collect the taxes 
as quickly as possible and thereby ensure the resources 
that the workers' and peasants' state needs to enable all 
the organs of state power to function properly. 

I greet the All-Russia Congress of Financial Workers 
and express the firm conviction that in the building up 
of our finances you will justify the hopes placed in you 
by the masses of the working people of Soviet Russia. 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 

October 20, 1922 

Pravda No. 240, 
October 24, 1922 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 



October 20, 1922 

Dear Comrades, 

I have just verified by special inquiry to the Perm 
Gubernia Executive Committee the extremely favourable 
information that was published in our newspapers about the 
work of the members of your Society, headed by Harold 
Ware, with the tractor team at the Toikino State Farm, Perm 

In spite of the immense difficulties, particularly in view 
of the extreme remoteness of that locality from the centre, 
and also the devastation caused by Kolchak during the 
Civil War, you have achieved successes that must be 
regarded as truly outstanding. 

I hasten to express to you my profound gratitude and 
to ask you to publish this in your Society's journal, and, 
if possible, in the general press of the United States. 

I am sending a recommendation to the Presidium of 
the All-Russia Central Executive Committee that it should 
recognise this state farm as a model farm, and render 
it special and extraordinary assistance in building and 
also in supplying petrol, metal, and other materials neces- 
sary for a repair shop. 

Once again on behalf of our Republic I express to you 
our profound gratitude, and ask you to bear in mind that 
no form of assistance is as timely and as important for us 
as that which you are rendering. 


Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars 

Pravda No. 240, 
October 24, 1922 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 



October 20, 1922 

Dear Comrades, 

Extremely favourable information has appeared in our 
press about the work of members of your Society at the 
state farms in Kirsanov Uyezd, Tambov Gubernia, and at 
Mitino Station, Odessa Gubernia, and also about the work 
of the group of miners in the Donets Basin. 

In spite of the enormous difficulties, and particularly 
in view of the devastation caused by the Civil War, you 
have achieved successes that must be regarded as outstand- 

I hasten to express to you my profound gratitude and 
to ask you to publish this in your Society's journal, and, 
if possible, in the general press in the United States. 

I am sending a recommendation to the Presidium of the 
All-Russia Central Executive Committee that it should 
recognise the most successful farms as model farms, and 
render them the special and extraordinary assistance 
necessary for the successful promotion of their work. 

Once again on behalf of our Republic I express to you 
our profound gratitude, and ask you to bear in mind that 
the work you are doing to cultivate land with the aid of 
tractors is particularly timely and important for us. 

It gives me particular satisfaction to be able to congrat- 
ulate you on your proposal to organise 200 agricultural 


Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars 

Pravda No. 240, 
October 24, 1922 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 



To the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Far 
Eastern Republic, Chita 120 

On the fifth anniversary of the victorious October Revo- 
lution the Red Army has taken another decisive step 
towards completely clearing the territory of the R.S.F.S.R. 
and of its allied republics of foreign troops of occupation. 
The capture of Vladivostok by the People's Revolutionary 
Army of the Far Eastern Republic unites with the masses 
of the working people of Russia the Russian citizens who 
have borne the heavy yoke of Japanese imperialism. I 
congratulate all the working people of Russia and our val- 
iant Red Army on this new victory, and I request the Gov- 
ernment of the Far Eastern Republic to convey to all the 
workers and peasants in the liberated regions, and in 
Vladivostok, the greetings of the Council of People's Com- 
missars of the R.S.F.S.R. 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin), 
Chairman of the Council of People's 
Commissars of the R.S.F.S.R. 

Moscow, October 26, 1922 

Pravda No. 243, 
October 27, 1922 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 



1. Question. The anti-Russian press describes Herriot's recep- 
tion in Moscow and the Franco-Russian negotiations as a definite 
change in Soviet Russia's foreign policy. 

Is that true? Is it true that Russia regards British policy in the 
Middle East as a challenge and is ready to conclude an agreement 
with France directed against Britain? 

Answer. I consider it absolutely incorrect to describe 
Herriot's reception in Moscow and the Franco-Russian 
negotiations as a change, even a slight one, in Soviet 
Russia's policy in general, or as being anti-British in 
particular. 121 We certainly value very highly both Herriot's 
reception in Moscow and the step taken towards a rapproche- 
ment with France or towards negotiations with her, which 
have now become possible, probable and, I should like to 
believe, essential. Any rapprochement with France is 
something we very much desire, especially in view of the 
fact that Russia's commercial interests imperatively demand 
closer relations with this strong continental power. But 
we are convinced that this rapprochement does not in the 
least imply that some change must necessarily take place 
in our policy towards Britain. We believe fully friendly 
relations with both powers to be quite possible, and that 
is our aim. We believe that the development of commercial 
relations will inevitably go a very long way towards achiev- 
ing this aim. We believe that the interests of Britain and 
France, rightly understood, will likewise operate in that 
direction. We believe that the mutual interests of both 
Britain and France, insofar as they have points of contact 



with Russia, do not under any circumstances contain ele- 
ments of inevitable hostility between Britain and France. 
On the contrary, we even think that peaceful and friendly 
relations between these powers and Russia are a guarantee 
(I am almost prepared to say — the strongest guarantee) 
that peace and friendship between Britain and France will 
last a long time, and that all possible, and under present 
circumstances probable, differences between France and 
Britain will most speedily and truly find a happy solution. 

2. Question. Is not the virtual termination of the Greco-Turkish 
War, a war supported by Britain, an opportune moment for the con- 
clusion of an Anglo-Russian agreement? 

Answer. Of course, the termination of the Greco-Turkish 
War, which had Britain's support, is a factor that, to a 
certain extent, improves the chances of an Anglo-Russian 
agreement being concluded. We looked for such an agree- 
ment even before that war ended and shall now continue to 
seek it with the utmost energy. True, some of the problems 
connected with the termination of that war are objects 
of our disagreement with Britain. But, first of all, the peace 
which has followed the Greco-Turkish War is in our opinion 
such an advantage to international politics as a whole that 
we hope for an improvement in the general conditions under 
which they are conducted, thanks to the Greco-Turkish 
peace. Secondly, we do not consider the differences between 
Britain and ourselves to be in any way insurmountable. 
On the contrary, we expect that, with the Middle East 
problem entering various stages, the near future will 
show us to what extent we are right in hoping that the end 
of the Greco-Turkish War will also be the end of the con- 
flicts and differences which placed that war in the forefront 
of international politics. We are doing everything in our 
power to make the end of that war also the end of all friction 
and disagreement with Britain, and we hope that the 
interests of the British Government will rise on this occasion, 
too, above any promptings and the frequently insincere 
utterances of the anti-Russian press. 

3. Question. Do you consider Russia's participation in the eastern 
question a matter of prestige alone, or do you proceed exclusively 
from Russia's real interests? Does the Russian Government agree 



to the French proposal to permit Russia's participation in only that 
part of the Conference that will decide the question of the Straits? 

Answer. I consider Russia's participation in the settle- 
ment of the Middle East question 122 to have nothing to do 
with prestige. I hope that our international politics as a 
whole over a period of five years have shown completely 
that we are quite indifferent to questions of prestige and 
that we are incapable of putting forward any demand what- 
soever or of worsening the real chances of peace between 
states solely on account of prestige. I am confident that 
in no other country are the masses so indifferent to prestige 
and even so prepared to treat the question of prestige as 
such with happy ridicule. We are of the opinion that mod- 
ern diplomacy will rapidly come to regard questions of 
prestige precisely in this way. 

Our Middle East policy is a matter of Russia's most 
real, immediate and vital interest and of the interest of 
a number of states federated with her. If all these states 
did not succeed in getting their demand to participate in 
the Middle East Conference satisfied, there would remain a 
huge mass of elements of hostility, conflict and discontent; 
their non-participation would involve such difficulties in 
purely commercial affairs between Eastern Europe on the 
one hand, and all other states on the other, that either 
there would remain no grounds whatever for peaceful coexist- 
ence or that such existence would be extraordinarily 

The Russian Government, therefore, is not satisfied with 
the proposal from Paris to allow Russia to participate 
only in that part of the Conference which will settle the prob- 
lem of the Straits. We are of the opinion that such a limi- 
tation would inevitably lead to a number of very practical, 
immediate inconveniences, in particular economic incon- 
veniences, from which France and Britain would them- 
selves suffer, most probably in the near future. 

4. Question. What is the Russian programme for the solution 
of the Straits problem? 

Answer. Our Straits programme (still only approximate, 
of course) contains, among other things, the following: 
First, the satisfaction of Turkey's national aspirations. 



We consider this essential, and not only in the interests 
of national independence. Our five years' experience in 
settling the national question in a country that contains 
a tremendous number of nationalities such as could hardly 
be found in any other country, gives us the full conviction 
that under such circumstances the only correct attitude to 
the interests of nations is to meet those interests in full 
and provide conditions that exclude any possibility of 
conflicts on that score. Our experience has left us with 
the firm conviction that only exclusive attention to the 
interests of various nations can remove grounds for con- 
flicts, can remove mutual mistrust, can remove the fear 
of any intrigues and create that confidence, especially on 
the part of workers and peasants speaking different lan- 
guages, without which there absolutely cannot be peaceful 
relations between peoples or anything like a successful 
development of everything that is of value in present-day 

Secondly, our programme includes the closing of the 
Straits to all warships in times of peace and of war. This 
is in the direct commercial interests of all powers, not 
only of those whose territory is in the immediate vicinity 
of the Straits, but of all others, too. It must be remembered 
that all over the world there has been an inordinate amount 
of pacifist talk, an unusual number of pacifist phrases and 
assurances, and even vows against war and against peace, 123 
although there is usually little preparedness on the part 
of the majority of states, especially on the part of the modern 
civilised states, to take any realistic steps, even the most 
simple, to ensure peace. On this, and on similar questions, 
we should like to see a minimum of general assurances, 
solemn promises and grandiloquent formulas, and the great- 
est possible number of the simplest and most obvious 
decisions and measures that would certainly lead to peace, 
if not to the complete elimination of the war danger. 

Thirdly, our programme on the Straits includes complete 
freedom of commerce by sea. After what I have said above I 
do not think it at all necessary to explain this point or 
make it more concrete. 

5. Question. Would the Russian Government agree to the League 
of Nations controlling the Straits if the League were to include in 



its composition Russia, Turkey, Germany and the United 

Or would Russia insist on the establishment of a special commis- 
sion to control the Straits? 

Answer. We are, of course, opposed to the League of 
Nations, and I do not think that it is only our economic 
and political system with its specific features that accounts 
for our negative attitude towards the League; the interests 
of peace, regarded from the point of view of the concrete 
conditions of modern international politics in general, 
also fully justify that negative attitude. The League of 
Nations bears so many marks of its world war origin, it 
is so intimately bound up with the Versailles Treaty and 
is so marked by the absence of anything resembling the 
establishment of the real equality of rights between nations, 
anything resembling a real chance of their peaceful coex- 
istence, that I think our negative attitude to the League 
can be appreciated and does not stand in need of further 

6. Question. Does the refusal to ratify the agreement with 
Urquhart mean a victory of the "Left Communists"? What are the 
objective conditions which would make possible a resumption of 
negotiations and the ratification of the agreement with Urquhart? 

Answer. The question of concluding an agreement with 
Urquhart 124 was raised by our government when I was ill and 
was unable to take part in affairs of state. Therefore I am 
not yet fully informed of all the details of this matter. 
Nevertheless I can assert quite definitely that there is 
not, nor can there now be, any question of a victory for 
the Left Communists. I know this from my direct observation 
of the course of government affairs. 

The fact of the matter is that Britain's act of injustice, 
expressed in her unwillingness to admit us to the Con- 
ference, was so unexpected, aroused such indignation in 
Russia and so firmly united not only the Right with the 
Left Communists but also united the huge mass of the non- 
party population of Russia, the workers and peasants, that 
things did not and could not reach the point of disagreement 
between the Left and Right Communists. 

The reason given for our rejection of the Urquhart agreement 



was a direct expression, one may say, not only of the gen- 
eral Party sentiment but of that of the entire people, 
i.e., the sentiment of the entire mass of the workers and 

The resumption of negotiations and the subsequent 
ratification of an agreement with Urquhart depend primarily 
on the elimination of the flagrant injustices committed 
against Russia by Britain in curtailing her right to parti- 
cipate in the Middle East Conference. As far as the concrete 
terms submitted to us by Urquhart are concerned, I have 
not yet had time to look into this matter in sufficient detail, 
and can only say that the government has decided to let 
the supporters and opponents of this agreement have their 
say in our press as soon as possible, in order to obtain, 
from the most objective and motivated discussion, material 
for the overall verification of all the pros and cons and 
for a decision on the issue in a manner that best accords 
with Russia's interests. 

7. Question. To what extent are the accusations of the anti- 
Russian press in Britain justified when they assert that the recent 
arrests of industrialists in Moscow signify the end of the New Eco- 
nomic Policy and a reversion to the policy or nationalisation and 

Answer. As to your question concerning the accusations 
made against us in the British anti-Russian press that 
"Moscow industrialists" were being arrested, I must say 
that I have today just read in our newspaper (Izvestia) an 
item headed "Arrests of Black Marketeers". None other than 
Comrade Z. B. Katsnelson, chief of the Economic Division 
of the State Political Administration, tells us in this article 
that there was no question of arrests of industrialists, and 
that "rumours circulated by enemies of Soviet power, both 
within the R.S.F.S.R. and abroad, that the arrests are 
infringements on the freedom to trade are actually nothing 
but nonsensical inventions that have the definite counter- 
revolutionary intent of disrupting the economic relations 
that are being established with Western Europe". 

Indeed, those arrested were exclusively profiteers on 
the so-called black market and our authorities are in pos- 
session of evidence establishing connection between these 
black-market currency profiteers and certain employees 



of foreign missions in Moscow. This evidence shows not 
only the sale of platinum and of gold bars but also the 
organisation of contraband shipments of these valuables 

From this you can see how absolutely unfounded are 
the rumours that we are putting an end to the New Economic 
Policy and how utterly false are the accusations made by 
the anti-Russian press in Britain, which is trying by the 
most unheard-of distortion and deception to present our 
policy in a false light. Actually, there has never been any 
mention in any government circles whatsoever of discontinu- 
ing the New Economic Policy and returning to the old. 
Incidentally, the whole work of the government during 
the session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee 
now in progress is aimed at obtaining the widest possible 
legislative sanction for what is known as the New Economic 
Policy, so as to eliminate all possibility of any deviation 
from it. 

October 27, 1922 

Pravda No. 254, 
November 10, 1922 

Published according to 
a typewritten copy 
corrected by Lenin 



OCTOBER 31, 1922 125 

(Stormy, prolonged applause. All rise.) Comrades, permit 
me to confine myself to a few words of greeting. We should 
first of all, of course, send our greetings to the Red Army, 
which has recently given further proof of its valour by 
capturing Vladivostok and clearing the entire territory of 
the last of the republics linked with Soviet Russia. 
I am sure that I am expressing the general opinion when 
I say that we all welcome this new feat of the Red Army, 
and also the fact that apparently a very important step 
has been taken towards bringing the war to a close; the 
last of the whiteguard forces have been driven into the sea. 
(Applause.) I think that our Red Army has rid us for a 
long time of the possibility of another whiteguard attack 
on Russia or on any of the republics that are directly or 
indirectly, closely or more or less remotely, connected 
with us. 

At the same time, however, in order to avoid adopting 
a tone of inordinate self-adulation, we must say that the 
strength of the Red Army and its recent victory were not 
the only factors in this; other factors were the international 
situation and our diplomacy. 

There was a time when Japan and the U.S.A. signed pacts 
to support Kolchak. But that was so long ago that many 
people have probably forgotten it completely. But that was 
the case. We have made such pacts impossible now, and, 
due to our efforts, the Japanese, in spite of their military 


strength, declared that they would withdraw, and have 
kept their promise; our diplomacy must also be given credit 
for this. I shall not drag out my brief greeting by saying 
what brought us that success. I shall only say that in the 
near future our diplomats will once again have to display 
their skill in a matter of immense importance, and one 
in which we are vitally interested. I have in mind the Mid- 
dle East Conference that Great Britain is convening in 
Lausanne on November 13. I am sure that there, too, our 
diplomats will prove their mettle, and that we shall be 
able to vindicate the interests of all our federated republics, 
and of the R.S.F.S.R. At all events, we shall succeed in 
revealing to the masses where and what the obstacle is, 
and to what extent it is an obstacle to the legitimate 
desires and aspirations not only of ourselves, but of all 
countries interested in the question of the Straits. 

I shall limit my utterances on foreign politics to these 
brief remarks and shall now deal with the proceedings 
of this session. 

I think that here we have achieved no small success in 
spite of the fact that to some people the questions dealt 
with may at first sight appear to be not so very important. 
Take the first code of laws that you have already passed — 
the Code of Labour Laws. Our adoption of a code of laws 
which firmly lays down the principles of labour legislation 
such as the eight-hour day at a time when in all other coun- 
tries the working class is being heavily attacked is a 
tremendous achievement for Soviet rule. True, there are 
people who, perhaps, would desire something more from 
this code; but I think that such a desire would be totally 

We must bear in mind that compared with all the coun- 
tries where fierce capitalist competition is raging, where 
there are millions and tens of millions of unemployed, 
and where the capitalists are forming vast combinations and 
are launching an offensive against the working class — if we 
compare ourselves with those countries, we are the least 
cultured, our productive forces are the lowest, and we 
are the least efficient. This is, I would say, a very unpleasant 
thing to have to admit. I think, however, that precisely 
because we do not disguise such things with platitudes 



and stereotyped catchwords, but candidly admit them, 
precisely because we all admit, and are not afraid to pro- 
claim from this rostrum, that we are exerting more efforts 
than any other country to rectify all this, we shall succeed 
in catching up with these countries faster than they ever 
dreamed possible. 

This will not be done at a fantastic speed, of course, 
it will naturally take us several years of laborious effort 
to achieve it. It goes without saying that nothing can be 
done overnight. We have been in existence for five years, 
we have seen at what speed social relations change, and 
have learned to appreciate what time means; and we must 
go on learning what it means. Nobody believes that any 
important change can be achieved at a fantastic speed; but 
we do believe in real speed, speed compared with the rate of 
development in any period in history you like to take — espe- 
cially if progress is guided by a genuinely revolutionary 
party; and this speed we shall achieve at all costs. 

I will now touch upon the Land Code that you have 
passed. You are aware that in the very first days after the 
famous 25th of October, 1917, our laws, unlike any other 
laws, propounded a land principle 126 which, though very 
imperfect from the technical and perhaps also from the 
juridical point of view, nevertheless, provided the peasants 
with all that was vital and essential for them, and ensured 
their alliance with the workers. From that time onwards, 
difficult as it has been for us to pull through these five 
years of continuous war, we have never relaxed our efforts 
to satisfy to the utmost the peasants' desire for land. And 
if it turns out that the law which you have just passed 
also needs amending in some way or other, we shall adopt 
such amendments and improvements as readily as you have 
just adopted amendments and improvements to our Criminal 
Code. We regard the land question, the question of improv- 
ing the living conditions of the peasants, who constitute the 
overwhelming majority of the population, as one of 
fundamental importance. In this respect we have already 
succeeded in convincing the Russian peasants that in our 
supreme legislative body every proposal to change the old 
laws will always meet, not with opposition, but with the 
most favourable consideration and support. 


You have also had before you for your consideration the 
Civil Code and the Law on the Judicial System. You know 
that in the light of the policy which we have firmly adopted, 
and concerning which there can be no wavering in our 
ranks, this is a most important question for the vast masses 
of the population. You know also that here, too, we have 
tried to maintain the dividing line between what can 
satisfy the ordinary citizen's legitimate needs in present- 
day economic conditions, and what is abuse of the New 
Economic Policy — the things that are legal in all other 
countries, but which we do not want to legalise. The future 
will show to what extent the amendments you have approved 
of and adopted specifically for this purpose are effective. We 
shall leave ourselves a perfectly free hand in this matter. 
If everyday experience reveals abuses which we have not 
foreseen, we shall forthwith introduce the necessary amend- 
ments. As far as this is concerned, you are all well aware, 
of course, that, unfortunately, no other country can as 
yet vie with us in the speed with which we legislate. We 
shall see whether events in the near future will not compel 
them to try to catch up with Soviet Russia a little in this 

Further, I must speak about another important matter 
that you have finally settled here, and that is the question 
of the local congresses of Soviets and of the gubernia exec- 
utive committees. This is a question that was always 
kept in the background under all previous legislative systems 
and in all constitutions. It was regarded as a matter of no 
importance- the opinion was that the local government 
bodies could continue to follow the old rut. We are of a 
contrary opinion. We are convinced that the successes our 
revolution has achieved are due to our having always 
devoted most of our attention to the local government bodies 
and to local experiences. The revolution of October 1917 
at one stroke achieved such successes that it seemed to 
us in the spring of 1918 that the war had drawn to a close — 
actually, it had only just started in its worst form, the 
form of civil war; actually, peace with the Germans meant 
that they assisted the worst elements in the Civil War; 
actually, the peace treaty we then signed with the Germans 
and which collapsed in the autumn, in many cases meant 



that assistance was given to these worst elements by the 
Allied Powers who blamed us for concluding peace with 
the Germans — and, I say, our revolution accomplished its 
task so quickly in a few months, a few weeks even, because 
we relied entirely on the forces in the localities, we gave 
them full scope for their activities, and we looked to the 
localities for the enthusiasm that made our revolution 
swift and invincible. I am aware that since then our 
localities have undergone many different perturbations, so 
to say. The problem of the relations between the localities 
and the centre has been one of no little difficulty, and I 
do not want to suggest that we have always found the ideal 
solution for it. Considering our general level of culture, 
it was useless dreaming of an ideal solution. But we may 
confidently say that we have solved it more sincerely, 
justly and durably than it has been solved in any other 

In conclusion I shall touch only upon one other question 
that particularly interests me, and which, I think, should 
interest you, although officially it does not appear either 
on your agenda or in the list of questions. This is the ques- 
tion of our machinery of state; an old and eternally new 

In August 1918 we took a census of public officials in 
Moscow. We obtained a total of 231,000 state and Soviet 
employees; this figure covered the number employed both in 
central government offices and in the local, Moscow munic- 
ipal offices. Recently, in October 1922, we took another 
census in the belief that we had cut down these innated 
staffs and that they would certainly be smaller. The figure 
obtained, however, was 243,000. This, then, was the result 
of all the reductions of staffs that we carried through. A 
great deal of effort will still have to be spent on investigating 
and comparing these figures. When we took the first census 
in 1918, in the first flush of reforms, we, to put it bluntly, 
could make next to nothing of the returns. We had no time 
for that sort of thing. The Civil War did not leave us a 
minute to spare. Now, however, we hope that this work will be 
done. We are convinced that our machinery of state, which 
suffers from many defects, is inflated to far more than twice 
the size we need, and often works not for us, but against 


us — we need not be afraid to admit this truth even from 
the rostrum of the supreme legislative body of our Republic 
— we are convinced that this machinery of state will be 
improved. Much effort and skill will be required to improve it. 
We have made a beginning in the serious study of the problem 
of how to improve it, but this is only a beginning — a few 
essays and material from local research. If we all leave 
this session determined to devote more attention to this 
problem than we have done up to now, determined to spend 
less time on bustle and fuss — and all too often we spend a 
vast amount of time on this — if we really make a thorough 
study of our machinery of state and work for a number of 
years to improve it, that will be a great asset and a guar- 
antee of success. We must have the courage to say that 
up to now we have built up our machinery of state spon- 
taneously. Our best workers undertook the most arduous 
duties in both the civil and military fields, and very often 
they went about them in the wrong way, but they learned 
to rectify their mistakes and get things done. The propor- 
tion of these, perhaps, scores of courageous men and women, 
relative to the hundreds of those who sabotaged — or half- 
sabotaged, floundering among their voluminous papers — 
this proportion was very often such that our vital affairs 
became submerged in a deluge of paper. We have not been 
able to study this question up to now, but henceforth we 
must study it in the most comprehensive manner. This will 
take years and years; we shall have to study hard for years, 
for the cultural standard of our workers is low, they find it 
difficult to undertake the new tasks of production, but it 
is only on their sincerity and enthusiasm that we can rely. 
It will take us years and years to secure an improvement in 
our machinery of state, to raise it — not merely individuals, 
but as a whole — to a higher cultural level. I am sure that 
if we continue to devote our efforts to such work, we shall 
certainly and inevitably achieve better and better results. 
{Prolonged applause.) 

Pravda No. 247, 
November 1, 1922 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 
checked with the verbatim report 



November 1, 1922 

Dear Comrades, 

I greet you from the bottom of my heart on the occasion 
of the fifth anniversary of the October Revolution and wish 
that during the next five years our fight on the peace front 
will be as successful as it has been hitherto on the war front. 

With best greetings and wishes, 


V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 

Pravda No. 251, 
November 5, 1922 

Published according to 
the manuscript 



Dear Comrades, 

I cordially greet you on the occasion of the fifth anniver- 
sary of the October Revolution. My desire is that we should 
in the next five years gain by peaceful efforts no less than 
we have gained up to now by force of arms. 

November 2, 1922 



Pravda No. 252, 
November 7, 1922 

Published according to 
the manuscript 



I welcome the very timely convocation of the International 
Conference of Communist Co-operators and wish you every 
success in your work. 

Like the delegates at the conference, I fully appreciate 
the complexity and difficulty of the task you have under- 
taken, that of capturing the machinery of the co-operative 
movement in order to further the world revolution. 

I shall be very glad if the experience we have gained 
in our work in Russia can be of use to the common cause. 

Written on November 2, 1922 Published according to 

Published in Pravda No. 249, the newspaper text 

November 3, 1922 



November 4, 1922 

From the bottom of my heart I thank you for your mes- 
sage of greetings and ask you to accept my gratitude and 
best wishes for success in your work. 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin), 
Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars 

Published in Pravda No. 251, Published according to 

November 5, 1922 the original signed 

by Lenin 




1. Question. I find considerable economic activity; everybody 
is buying and selling, and evidently, a new trading class is arising. 
My question is — how is it that the Nepman is not, and shows no signs 
of aspiring to become, a political force? 

Answer. Your first question reminded me of a conver- 
sation I had long, long ago, in London. It was on a Satur- 
day night. I was taking a stroll with a friend; that was 
some twenty years ago. 131 The streets were thronged. Traders 
were lined all along the curbs, and their stalls were lit 
up by small metal tubes, filled with naphtha, or something 
of that sort. The lights were very pretty. The traffic in 
the streets was really extraordinary. Everybody was buying 
or selling. 

In Russia at that time there was a trend that we called 
Economism. By this rather slangy term we meant the 
childish vulgarisation of Marx's views on historical mate- 
rialism. My friend was an Economist, and he at once began 
to show off his knowledge. This extraordinary economic 
activity, he argued, should create a desire for political 
power. I laughed at this interpretation of Marx. The abun- 
dance of small traders and their extremely lively activities, I 
said, do not prove in the least that this class is a great 
economic force, from which one could infer a desire for 
"political power". London, probably, became the world's 
commercial centre, both economic and political, in a 
somewhat more complicated way than my friend imagined, 


and the London street traders, their remarkable activity 
notwithstanding, were rather far from being a "political" 
force, and even from the desire to become one. 

I am afraid that your question as to why our Nepmen 
(i.e., street traders? petty hucksters?) "show no signs of 
aspiring to become a political force" will raise a smile 
here; and our answer will be — for the very same reason 
that the Saturday night crowd buying and selling in the 
streets of London did not, in Britain, "show signs of aspir- 
ing to become a political force". 

2. Question. I get the impression that in Russia, today, buying 
and selling and barter are highly profitable, whereas production is 
possible only in very rare cases. Buying and selling and barter are 
in the hands of the Nepmen. In most cases profitable production is 
conducted on a small scale, and is in the hands of private individuals. 
Unprofitable production is in the hands of the state. My question 
is — does this not presage a continuous increase in the economic power 
of the Nepmen and a continuous diminution of the power of the state? 

Answer. I am afraid that you formulate your second 
question also from an almost Economist angle in the sense 
indicated above. It was Bastiat, I think, who seriously 
held the opinion that "the ancient Greeks and Romans lived 
by plunder". The "economic" question as to where the loot 
obtained by the people who lived by plunder came from did 
not trouble him very much. 

You "get the impression that in Russia, today, buying 
and selling and barter are highly profitable, whereas 
production is possible only in very rare cases". 

I was very surprised to read such a conclusion drawn 
from observation of what goes on in the streets of Moscow. 
I thought to myself — what about the millions and millions 
of Russian peasants? The fact that they sow crops is not a 
rare, or very rare case, but the commonest case in Russia, 
is it not? Is it not "even" commoner than the "buying and 
selling" of the Nepmen? And, probably, peasant production 
is not only "possible" in Russia, but extremely "profitable", 
is it not? If it were not so, how could our peasants have 
obtained the means to pay the tax in kind, amounting to 
hundreds of millions of poods of grain, which they have 
already delivered to the government so very quickly and 
easily? How is one to explain the universal acceleration 



of building activity observed by everybody, both in town 
and country, throughout boundless Russia? 

Does not the questioner take for "highly profitable sell- 
ing and barter" the petty trade in which a small trader 
sometimes makes millions and millions of profits in 
depreciated Russian currency, when on the free market a 
million rubles is worth less than a ruble was before? It 
is scarcely possible to slip into such an error, for our gov- 
ernment is now — has been for the last few months already — 
striking out the "superfluous" noughts of our paper curren- 
cy. 132 One day the figure is a million million; four noughts 
are struck out and it becomes a hundred million. The state 
does not become richer as a result of this operation, but it is 
very strange to assume that it "becomes weaker", for this 
operation is an obvious step towards stabilising the currency, 
and the Nepmen are beginning to see that the ruble is 
becoming stabilised; this was to be seen in the summer, 
for example. The Nepmen are beginning to understand that 
the "striking out" of noughts will continue, and I doubt 
whether their "aspiration to become a political force" will 
hinder it. 

To return to the question of production. In this country 
the land belongs to the state. The small peasants who occupy 
the land are paying the tax splendidly. Industrial pro- 
duction — in so-called light industry — is obviously reviv- 
ing; and this production is partly in the hands of the state 
and managed by its employees, and partly in the hands 
of lessees. 

Thus, there are no grounds for anticipating "a con- 
tinuous diminution of the power of the state". 

You must draw a distinction not between production and 
trade, but between production in light industry and that in 
heavy industry. The latter is really unprofitable, and this 
is actually creating serious difficulties for the country. 
Of this, more below. 

3. Question. It is being hinted that an attempt is to be made 
(by means of taxation) to compel the Nepmen to subsidise industry. 
My question is — will not this merely result in a rise in prices and 
increased profits for the Nepmen, which will indirectly create the 
necessity of raising wages — thus causing a return to the former situa- 


Answer. The government has at its command hundreds of 
millions of poods of grain. That being the case, it is wrong 
to anticipate that taxes will "merely" result in a rise in 
prices. The taxes will also provide us with revenues, 
obtained from the Nepmen and manufacturers, which will 
be used for industry, particularly heavy industry. 

4. Question. Judging by usual capitalist standards, the economic 
situation should be worse. Judging by communist standards, the 
situation should also be worse (decline of heavy industry). And yet, 
everybody I meet admits that his conditions are better than they 
were a year ago. Evidently, something is taking place that neither 
capitalist nor communist ideology allows for. Both presuppose prog- 
ress. But what if, instead of progressing, we are receding? My ques- 
tion is — is it not possible that we are not marching forward to new 
prosperity, but are reverting to the old conditions? Is it not possible 
that Russia is going back to the period of agricultural production 
approximately commensurate with her needs, and to a brisk home 
trade only slightly affected by foreign imports? Is not such a period 
conceivable under the proletarian dictatorship as it was formerly 
under the feudal dictatorship? 

Answer. Let us first "judge" by "usual capitalist stand- 
ards". Throughout the summer our ruble remained stable. 
This is an obvious sign of improvement. Furthermore, the 
revival of peasant production and of light industry is beyond 
doubt. This, too, is an improvement. Lastly, the State Bank 
has obtained a net revenue of no less than 20,000,000 
gold rubles (this is at the lowest estimate; actually, it 
obtained a larger sum). A small sum, but the improvement 
is beyond doubt. A small sum, but it undoubtedly marks the 
beginning of an increase in the funds available for heavy 

To proceed. Let us now judge by communist standards. 
All the three circumstances enumerated above are assets also 
from the communist viewpoint, for in this country political 
power is in the hands of the workers. The step towards the 
stabilisation of the ruble, the revival of peasant production 
and light industry and the first profits obtained by the 
State Bank (i.e., the state) are all assets from the communist 
viewpoint too. 

How is it that although capitalism is the antithesis of 
communism, certain circumstances are assets from the two 
opposite viewpoints? It is because one possible way to 



proceed to communism is through state capitalism, provided 
the state is controlled by the working class. This is exactly 
the position in the "present case". 

The decline of heavy industry is a loss to us. The first 
profits obtained by the State Bank and the People's 
Commissariat of Foreign Trade mark the beginning of an 
improvement in this field, too. The difficulties here are 
enormous; but the situation is by no means hopeless. 

Let us proceed further. Is it possible that we are receding 
to something in the nature of a "feudal dictatorship"? 
It is utterly impossible, for although slowly, with inter- 
ruptions, taking steps backward from time to time, we 
are still making progress along the path of state capitalism, 
a path that leads us forward to socialism and communism 
(which is the highest stage of socialism), and certainly not 
back to feudalism. 

Foreign trade is growing; the ruble is becoming more 
stable, although the progress is not altogether without 
interruptions; there is an obvious revival of industry in 
Petrograd and Moscow; a small, a very small beginning has 
been made in accumulating state funds for the purpose of 
assisting heavy industry, and so on, and so forth. All this 
shows that Russia is not receding, but advancing, although, 
I repeat, very slowly, and not without interruption. 

5. Question. Or are we witnessing a deplorable squandering of 
capital that should be utilised in production! 

Answer. This question has already been answered in the 

6. Question. In addition to these questions The Manchester Guard- 
ian would be interested to obtain direct from you a refutation of 
the rumours now freely circulating in Moscow that the ration system 
will be reintroduced this winter and that all Nepman stocks are to 
be requisitioned. 

Answer. I readily affirm that the rumours to the effect 
that we intend to revert to the ration system or that we 
intend to "requisition all Nepman stocks" are groundless. 

They are fairy-tales, nothing more. We are not contem- 
plating anything of the sort. 

Nothing of the sort is conceivable in present-day Russia. 


These rumours are being maliciously circulated by people 
who are very angry with us, but are not very clever. 

7. Question. Lastly, am I right in assuming that the agreement 
with Urquhart has not been finally rejected, but has only been shelved 
until normal, friendly relations have been established with the 
British Government? 

Answer. You are absolutely right about Urquhart. I 
shall repeat what I recently told Farbman.* We have not 
finally rejected the proposal for a concession to Urquhart. 
We have rejected it only for the political reasons we have 
publicly announced. In our press we have started a dis- 
cussion of all the pros and cons. And we hope that after 
this discussion we shall arrive at a definite opinion on both 
the political and economic aspects. 



November 5, 1922 

Translated from 
the manuscript 

Published in The Manchester 
Guardian No. 23797, 
November 22, 1922 

First published 
in Russian in 1930 

* See pp. 383-89 of this volume.— Ed. 



In reply to your questions: 

1. I think that the "Nepman", i.e., the representative 
of the trading system developing under the "New Economic 
Policy", would like to become a political force, but shows 
no signs of this, or shows them in such a way as to conceal 
his aspirations. He is compelled to conceal his aspirations, 
for otherwise he would run the risk of meeting with the 
stern opposition of our state authorities, or perhaps even 
worse than opposition, i.e., downright hostility. 

I am of the opinion that with the concentration of the 
bulk of the means of production in the hands of our state 
what the petty bourgeoisie actually needs, economically 
is freedom to buy and sell consumer goods. Our laws grant 
the petty bourgeoisie this freedom. 

The term "Nepman" that you use leads to some misun- 
derstanding. This word is made up of the abbreviation 
NEP, which stands for "New Economic Policy", and the 
word "man". Together it means "a man, or representative, 
of this New Economic Policy". This term first arose as a 
journalese nickname for the small huckster, or individual 
who took advantage of the free market for all sorts of 

Outwardly, what strikes the eye most in the New Eco- 
nomic Policy is that people like the "Nepmen", that is, 
people of all sorts who "buy and sell", as you say, come to 
the fore. 

But the actual economic activities of the actual majority 
of the population by no means consist in this. For example, 
it is sufficient to point to the activities of the vast masses 
of the peasantry who, precisely at the present time, are 


displaying tremendous energy and self-sacrifice in restor- 
ing their tillage, their agricultural implements, their houses, 
farm buildings, etc. On the other hand, at this very 
moment the industrial workers are displaying equal energy 
in improving their tools, in replacing worn out tools by 
new ones, in restoring wrecked, dilapidated or damaged 
buildings, etc. 

The "Nepmen", if we are to employ this term, which 
belongs rather to the realm of journalese than to the realm 
of serious political economy, make more noise than their 
economic power warrants. I am therefore afraid that anybody 
who in a vulgarised way applied to our "Nepmen" the 
proposition of historical materialism that economic power 
must be followed by political power, is in danger of falling 
into serious error, and even of becoming the victim of a 
series of ridiculous misunderstandings. 

The real nature of the New Economic Policy is this — 
firstly, the proletarian state has given small producers 
freedom to trade; and secondly, in respect of the means 
of production in large-scale industry, the proletarian state 
is applying a number of the principles of what in capital- 
ist economics is called "state capitalism". 

I think that the "Nepmen" who draw from this the con- 
clusion that they should aspire to become a political force 
are in danger not only of falling into error, but also of 
becoming a butt for newspaper quips about their vulgar 
conception of Marxism. 

2. It seems to me that your impression that in Russia 
today buying and selling are highly profitable, "whereas 
production is possible only in very rare cases" is likely 
to call forth well-deserved ridicule over Mister Nepman's 
political economy. 

If I am not mistaken, the overwhelming majority of the 
population of Russia are small peasants, who have now 
thrown themselves into production with extraordinary zeal, 
and have achieved (partly due to the assistance the govern- 
ment has given them by way of seed, etc.) enormous, almost 
incredible success, particularly if we bear in mind the 
unprecedented devastation caused by the Civil War, the 
famine, and so forth. The small peasants have been so suc- 
cessful that they delivered the state tax amounting to 



hundreds of millions of poods of grain with extraordinary 
ease, and almost without any coercion. 

I therefore think that it would be more true to say that 
the overwhelming majority of the population, whose pro- 
duction is conducted on a very small scale and is concen- 
trated in private hands, obtains very large profits. This 
applies to peasant farming as a whole. The same, or slightly 
smaller, profits are obtained from industrial production — 
part of which is in private hands and part in the hands of 
lessees from the state or state factories producing consumer 
goods for the rural population. 

The only really unprofitable production in the hands of 
the state is that part which, to employ the scientific ter- 
minology of political economy, should be called the pro- 
duction of means of production (ores, metals, etc.), or 
the production of fixed capital. Under capitalist economy 
the renewal of this form of capital usually requires govern- 
ment loans, which at one stroke provide extremely large 
sums (hundreds of millions of rubles, or even dollars) for 
the reorganisation of a number of enterprises capable of 
restoring damaged means of production. 

In our case, the restoration of the damaged means of 
production promises no profit whatever for a long time to 
come, and is "unprofitable", as you express it. For a long 
time we shall have to resort to revenues obtained from con- 
cessions, or state subsidies, for the purpose of restoring our 
fixed capital. 

Such is the actual economic situation at present. As 
you see, my view of this situation is quite different from 
yours. I am afraid that your opinion that in this country 
there is a "continuous increase in the economic power of the 
Nepmen" and a "continuous diminution of the power of the 
state" would probably have prompted Marx to make some 
caustic remarks about vulgar political economy. 

I still stick to my old idea that after Marx you can drag 
in non-Marxian political economy only for the purpose 
of fooling philistines, even if they are "highly civilised" 

I am rounding off on the question of "political power". 
The basis of political power in Russia is the workers and 
peasants. In all capitalist countries the peasants are robbed 


by the landowners and capitalists. As the peasants become 
more politically educated they understand this better. That 
is why the bulk of the population will not follow the lead 
of the "buying and selling" Nepmen. 

3. Will not the tax on the "Nepmen" merely result in 
increased wages and prices, instead of providing funds for 

No, because prices will be based on grain. A certain part 
of this grain is in the hands of the state, collected in the 
form of a tax. The Nepmen cannot directly influence prices 
because they are not producers. The foreign trade monopoly, 
I must say in passing, will help us to keep the Nepmen in 
hand, for, without consulting them, prices will be deter- 
mined by the price of production abroad plus the extra charge 
imposed by the state for the purpose of subsidising produc- 

I am afraid that you sometimes imagine that the Nepmen 
are forcing up prices although the rise in prices is actually 
due to the depreciation of our paper currency, caused by 
increased issues. That would be a mistake. 

Written between October 27 Published according to 

and November 5, 1922 a typewritten copy 

First published with corrections 

in Pravda No. 17, and additions by Lenin 
January 21, 1926 



Dear Comrades, 

I thank you cordially for your kind wishes and greetings. 
I am very sorry that I am unable to attend in person. 

Congratulations on the occasion of the fifth anniversary 
of the revolution and all best wishes for the success of your 



November 6, 1922 

Rabochaya Moskva No. 227, 
November 9, 1922 

Published according to 
the Rabochaya Moskva text 



PLANT 134 

Dear Comrades, 

I regret very much that precisely today a slight 
indisposition has forced me to stay indoors. I send you my 
warmest greetings and wishes on the occasion of the fifth 
anniversary. I wish you success in your work for the next 
five years. 


V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 

November 7, 1922 

First published in 1942 

Published according to 
the manuscript 



Dear Comrades, 

Today, on the fifth anniversary of the revolution, it 
gives me particular pleasure to welcome the opening of 
your club. I express the hope that by joint efforts you, work- 
ers and employees at the State Elektroperedacha Power 
Station, will turn that club into one of the most important 
centres of education for workers. 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 

November 7, 1922 

First published in 1945 
in Lenin Miscellany XXXV 

Published according to 
the original corrected 
and signed by Lenin 




November 8, 1922 

Dear Comrades, 

I thank you most heartily for your greetings and your 
gift. I will tell you as a secret that you ought not to send 
me any gifts. I earnestly request you to spread this secret 
among the workers as widely as possible. 

Please accept my best thanks, greetings and wishes. 


V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 

First published in 1924 

Published according to 
the manuscript 







I regret very much that I cannot be present at the first 
session of the Congress and that I must confine myself 
to greetings in writing. 

Notwithstanding the enormous obstacles confronting the 
Communist Parties, the Communist International is growing 
and becoming strong. The main goal is still to win over the 
majority of the workers. We shall attain this goal in spite 
of everything. 

The amalgamation of the Second and Two-and-a-Half 
Internationals will benefit the proletarian revolutionary 
movement: less fiction and less fraud is always to the benefit 
of the working class. 

To the Petrograd workers and their newly-elected Soviet 
who are hosts to the Fourth Congress of the Communist 
International, I send my best wishes and cordial greetings. 

The Petrograd workers must be in the foremost ranks on 
the economic front, too. We rejoice to hear about the 
beginning of the economic revival of Petrograd. I hope to 
be able to accept your invitation to visit Petrograd in the 
near future. 

Soviet rule in Russia is celebrating its fifth anniversary. 
It is now sounder than ever. The Civil War is over. The 
first successes in the economic field have been achieved. 
Soviet Russia considers it a matter of the greatest pride 
to help the workers of the whole world in their difficult 
struggle to overthrow capitalism. Victory will be ours. 

Long live the Communist International! 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 

Moscow, November 4, 1922 

Pravda No. 253, 
November 9, 1922 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 






{Comrade Lenin is met with stormy, prolonged applause 
and a general ovation. All rise and join in singing "The In- 
ternationale'' '.) Comrades, I am down in the list as the 
main speaker, but you will understand that after my lengthy 
illness I am not able to make a long report. I can only make 
a few introductory remarks on the key questions. My subject 
will be a very limited one. The subject, "Five Years of the 
Russian Revolution and the Prospects of the World Revo- 
lution", is in general too broad and too large for one speaker 
to exhaust in a single speech. That is why I shall take only 
a small part of this subject, namely, the question of the 
New Economic Policy. I have deliberately taken only this 
small part in order to make you familiar with what is now 
the most important question — at all events, it is the most 
important to me, because I am now working on it. 

And so, I shall tell you how we launched the New Eco- 
nomic Policy, and what results we have achieved with 
the aid of this policy. If I confine myself to this question, 
I shall, perhaps, succeed in giving you a general survey and 
a general idea of it. 

To begin with how we arrived at the New Economic Pol- 
icy, I must quote from an article I wrote in 1918. 138 At the 
beginning of 1918, in a brief polemic, I touched on the 
question of the attitude we should adopt towards state 
capitalism. I then wrote: 

"State capitalism would be a step forward as compared 
with the present state of affairs (i.e., the state of affairs 


at that time) in our Soviet Republic. If in approximately 
six months' time state capitalism became established in our 
Republic, this would be a great success and a sure guarantee 
that within a year socialism will have gained a permanently 
firm hold and will have become invincible in our country." 

Of course, this was said at a time when we were more 
foolish than we are now, but not so foolish as to be unable 
to deal with such matters. 

Thus, in 1918, I was of the opinion that with regard to 
the economic situation then obtaining in the Soviet 
Republic, state capitalism would be a step forward. This 
sounds very strange, and perhaps even absurd, for already 
at that time our Republic was a socialist republic and we 
were every day hastily — perhaps too hastily — adopting 
various new economic measures which could not be described 
as anything but socialist measures. Nevertheless, I then 
held the view that in relation to the economic situation 
then obtaining in the Soviet Republic state capitalism 
would be a step forward, and I explained my idea simply by 
enumerating the elements of the economic system of Russia. 
In my opinion these elements were the following: "(1) 
patriarchal, i.e., the most primitive form of agriculture; 
(2) small commodity production (this includes the majority 
of the peasants who trade in grain); (3) private capitalism; 
(4) state capitalism, and (5) socialism." All these economic 
elements were present in Russia at that time. I set myself 
the task of explaining the relationship of these elements 
to each other, and whether one of the non-socialist ele- 
ments, namely, state capitalism, should not be rated higher 
than socialism. I repeat: it seems very strange to everyone 
that a non-socialist element should be rated higher than, 
regarded as superior to, socialism in a republic which 
declares itself a socialist republic But the fact will become 
intelligible if you recall that we definitely did not regard 
the economic system of Russia as something homogeneous 
and highly developed; we were fully aware that in Russia 
we had patriarchal agriculture, i.e., the most primitive 
form of agriculture, alongside the socialist form. What 
role could state capitalism play in these circumstances? 

I then asked myself which of these elements predomi- 
nated? Clearly, in a petty-bourgeois environment the petty- 



bourgeois element predominates. I recognised then that 
the petty-bourgeois element predominated; it was impossible 
to take a different view. The question I then put to myself — 
this was in a specific controversy which had nothing to do 
with the present question — was: what is our attitude towards 
state capitalism? And I replied: although it is not a 
socialist form, state capitalism would be for us, and for Rus- 
sia, a more favourable form than the existing one. What 
does that show? It shows that we did not overrate either 
the rudiments or the principles of socialist economy, 
although we had already accomplished the social revolution. 
On the contrary, at that time we already realised to a cer- 
tain extent that it would be better if we first arrived at 
state capitalism and only after that at socialism. 

I must lay special emphasis on this, because I assume 
that it is the only point of departure we can take, firstly, 
to explain what the present economic policy is; and, sec- 
ondly, to draw very important practical conclusions for 
the Communist International. I do not want to suggest that 
we had then a ready-made plan of retreat. This was not the 
case. Those brief lines set forth in a polemic were not by 
any means a plan of retreat. For example, they made no 
mention whatever of that very important point, freedom to 
trade, which is of fundamental significance to state capital- 
ism. Yet they did contain a general, even if indefinite, idea of 
retreat. I think that we should take note of that not only 
from the viewpoint of a country whose economic system 
was, and is to this day, very backward, but also from the 
viewpoint of the Communist International and the advanced 
West-European countries. For example, just now we are 
engaged in drawing up a programme. I personally think that 
it would be best to hold simply a general discussion on all 
the programmes, to make the first reading, so to speak, and 
to get them printed, but not to take a final decision now, 
this year. Why? First of all, of course, because I do not 
think we have considered all of them in sufficient detail, 
and also because we have given scarcely any thought to 
possible retreat, and to preparations for it. Yet that is a 
question which, in view of such fundamental changes in the 
world as the overthrow of capitalism and the building of 
socialism with all its enormous difficulties, absolutely 


requires our attention. We must not only know how to act 
when we pass directly to the offensive and are victorious. 
In revolutionary times this is not so difficult, nor so very 
important; at least, it is not the most decisive thing. There 
are always times in a revolution when the opponent loses 
his head; and if we attack him at such a time we may win 
an easy victory. But that is nothing, because our enemy, 
if he has enough endurance, can rally his forces beforehand, 
and so forth. He can easily provoke us to attack him and 
then throw us back for many years. For this reason, I think, 
the idea that we must prepare for ourselves the possibility 
of retreat is very important, and not only from the theoret- 
ical point of view. From the practical point of view, too, 
all the parties which are preparing to take the direct offen- 
sive against capitalism in the near future must now give 
thought to the problem of preparing for a possible retreat. 
I think it will do us no harm to learn this lesson together 
with all the other lessons which the experience of our 
revolution offers. On the contrary, it may prove beneficial 
in many cases. 

Now that I have emphasised the fact that as early as 
1918 we regarded state capitalism as a possible line of 
retreat, I shall deal with the results of our New Economic 
Policy. I repeat: at that time it was still a very vague idea, 
but in 1921, after we had passed through the most impor- 
tant stage of the Civil War — and passed through it victori- 
ously — we felt the impact of a grave — I think it was the 
gravest — internal political crisis in Soviet Russia. This 
internal crisis brought to light discontent not only among 
a considerable section of the peasantry but also among 
the workers. This was the first and, I hope, the last time 
in the history of Soviet Russia that feeling ran against 
us among large masses of peasants, not consciously but 
instinctively. What gave rise to this peculiar, and for us, 
of course, very unpleasant, situation? The reason for it 
was that in our economic offensive we had run too far ahead, 
that we had not provided ourselves with adequate resources, 
that the masses sensed what we ourselves were not then 
able to formulate consciously but what we admitted soon 
after, a few weeks later, namely, that the direct transition 
to purely socialist forms, to purely socialist distribution, 



was beyond our available strength, and that if we were 
unable to effect a retreat so as to confine ourselves to easier 
tasks, we would face disaster. The crisis began, I think, 
in February 1921. In the spring of that year we decided 
unanimously — I did not observe any considerable disagree- 
ment among us on this question — to adopt the New Eco- 
nomic Policy. Now, after eighteen months have elapsed, 
at the close of 1922, we are able to make certain comparisons. 
What has happened? How have we fared during this period 
of over eighteen months? What is the result? Has this 
retreat been of any benefit to us? Has it really saved us, 
or is the result still indefinite? This is the main question 
that I put to myself, and I think that this main question is 
also of first-rate importance to all the Communist Parties; 
for if the reply is in the negative, we are all doomed. I think 
that all of us can, with a clear conscience, reply to this 
question in the affirmative, namely, that the past eighteen 
months provide positive and absolute proof that we have 
passed the test. 

I shall now try to prove this. To do that I must briefly 
enumerate all the constituent parts of our economy. 

First of all I shall deal with our financial system and 
our famous Russian ruble. I think we can say that Russian 
rubles are famous, if only for the reason that their number 
now in circulation exceeds a quadrillion. {Laughter.) That 
is something! It is an astronomical figure. I am sure that 
not everyone here knows what this figure signifies. {General 
laughter.) But we do not think that the figure is so very 
important even from the point of view of economic science, 
for the noughts can always be crossed out. {Laughter.) We 
have achieved a thing or two in this art, which is likewise 
of no importance from the economic point of view, and I am 
sure that in the further course of events we shall achieve 
much more. But what is really important is the problem of 
stabilising the ruble. We are now grappling with this prob- 
lem, our best forces are working on it, and we attach deci- 
sive importance to it. If we succeed in stabilising the 
ruble for a long period, and then for all time, it will prove 
that we have won. In that case all these astronomical fig- 
ures, these trillions and quadrillions, will not have mattered 
in the least. We shall then be able to place our economy 


on a firm basis, and develop it further on a firm basis. On 
this question I think I can cite some fairly important and 
decisive data. In 1921 the rate of exchange of the paper 
ruble remained stable for a period of less than three months. 
This year, 1922, which has not yet drawn to a close, the 
rate remained stable for a period of over five months. I 
think that this proof is sufficient. Of course, if you demand 
scientific proof that we shall definitely solve this problem, 
then it is not sufficient; but in general, I do not think it 
is possible to prove this entirely and conclusively. The 
data I have cited show that between last year, when we 
started on the New Economic Policy, and the present day, 
we have already learned to make progress. Since we have 
learned to do this, I am sure we shall learn to achieve furth- 
er successes along this road, provided we avoid doing 
anything very foolish. The most important thing, how- 
ever, is trade, namely, the circulation of commodities, 
which is essential for us. And since we have successfully 
coped with this problem for two years, in spite of having 
been in a state of war (for, as you know, Vladivostok was 
recaptured only a few weeks ago), and in spite of the fact 
that only now we are able to proceed with our economic 
activities in a really systematic way — since we have suc- 
ceeded in keeping the rate of the paper ruble stable for 
five months instead of only three months, I think I can say 
that we have grounds to be pleased. After all, we stand 
alone. We have not received any loans, and are not receiving 
any now. We have been given no assistance by any of the 
powerful capitalist countries, which organise their capital- 
ist economy so "brilliantly" that they do not know to 
this day which way they are going. By the Treaty of Ver- 
sailles they have created a financial system that they them- 
selves cannot make head or tail of. If these great capitalist 
countries are managing things in this way, I think that 
we, backward and uneducated as we are, may be pleased 
with the fact that we have grasped the most important 
thing — the conditions for the stabilisation of the ruble. 
This is proved not by theoretical analysis but by practical 
experience, which in my opinion is more important than 
all the theoretical discussions in the world. Practice shows 
that we have achieved decisive results in that field, namely, 



we are beginning to push our economy towards the stabilisa- 
tion of the ruble, which is of supreme importance for trade, 
for the free circulation of commodities, for the peasants, 
and for the vast masses of small producers. 

Now I come to our social objectives. The most important 
factor, of course, is the peasantry. In 1921 discontent 
undoubtedly prevailed among a vast section of the peasantry. 
Then there was the famine. This was the severest trial for the 
peasants. Naturally, all our enemies abroad shouted: "There, 
that's the result of socialist economy!" Quite naturally, 
of course, they said nothing about the famine actually 
being the terrible result of the Civil War. All the 
landowners and capitalists who had begun their offensive 
against us in 1918 tried to make out that the famine was the 
result of socialist economy. The famine was indeed a great 
and grave disaster which threatened to nullify the results 
of all our organisational and revolutionary efforts. 

And so, I ask now, after this unprecedented and unex- 
pected disaster, what is the position today, after we have 
introduced the New Economic Policy, after we have granted 
the peasants freedom to trade? The answer is clear and 
obvious to everyone; in one year the peasants have not 
only got over the famine, but have paid so much tax in kind 
that we have already received hundreds of millions of poods 
of grain, and that almost without employing any measures 
of coercion. Peasant uprisings, which previously, before 
1921, were, so to speak, a common occurrence in Russia, have 
almost completely ceased. The peasants are satisfied with 
their present position. We can confidently assert that. We 
think that this evidence is more important than any amount 
of statistical proof. Nobody questions the fact that the 
peasants are a decisive factor in our country. And the posi- 
tion of the peasantry is now such that we have no reason 
to fear any movement against us from that quarter. We 
say that quite consciously, without exaggeration. This 
we have already achieved. The peasantry may be dissatis- 
fied with one aspect or another of the work of our authorities. 
They may complain about this. That is possible, of course, 
and inevitable, because our machinery of state and our 
state-operated economy are still too inefficient to avert it; 
but any serious dissatisfaction with us on the part of 


the peasantry as a whole is quite out of the question. This 
has been achieved in the course of one year. I think that 
is already quite a lot. 

Now I come to our light industry. In industry we have to 
make a distinction between heavy and light industry because 
the situation in them is different. As regards light industry, 
I can safely say that there is a general revival. I shall not 
go into details. I did not set out to quote a lot of statistics. 
But this general impression is based on facts, and I can 
assure you that it is not based on anything untrue or inac- 
curate. We can speak of a general revival in light industry, 
and, as a result, of a definite improvement in the conditions 
of the workers in Petrograd and Moscow. In other districts 
this is observed to a lesser degree, because heavy industry 
predominates in them. So this does not apply generally. 
Nevertheless, I repeat, light industry is undoubtedly on the 
upgrade, and the conditions of the workers in Petrograd 
and Moscow have unquestionably improved. In the spring 
of 1921 there was discontent among the workers in both 
these cities. That is definitely not the case now. We, who 
watch the conditions and mood of the workers from day 
to day, make no mistake on that score. 

The third question is that of heavy industry. I must 
say that the situation here is still grave. Some turn for 
the better occurred in 1921-22, so that we may hope that 
the situation will improve in the near future. We have 
already gathered some of the resources necessary for this. 
In a capitalist country a loan of hundreds of millions would 
be required to improve the situation in heavy industry. 
No improvement would be possible without it. The eco- 
nomic history of the capitalist countries shows that heavy 
industry in backward countries can only be developed with 
the aid of long-term loans of hundreds of millions of dollars 
or gold rubles. We did not get such loans, and so far have 
received nothing. All that is now being written about 
concessions and so forth is not worth much more than the 
paper it is written on. We have written a great deal about 
this lately and in particular about the Urquhart conces- 
sion. Yet I think our concessions policy is a very good one. 
However, we have not concluded a single profitable con- 
cession agreement so far. I ask you to bear that in mind. 



Thus, the situation in heavy industry is really a very grave 
problem for our backward country, because we cannot 
count on loans from the wealthy countries. In spite of 
that, we see a tangible improvement, and we also see that 
our trading has brought us some capital. True, it is only 
a very modest sum as yet — a little over twenty million 
gold rubles. At any rate, a beginning has been made; our 
trade is providing us with funds which we can employ 
for improving the situation in heavy industry. At the pres- 
ent moment, however, our heavy industry is still in great 
difficulties. But I think that the decisive circumstance is 
that we are already in a position to save a little. And we 
shall go on saving. We must economise now though it is 
often at the expense of the population. We are trying to 
reduce the state budget, to reduce staffs in our government 
offices. Later on, I shall have a few words to say about our 
state apparatus. At all events, we must reduce it. We must 
economise as much as possible. We are economising in all 
things, even in schools. We must do this, because we know 
that unless we save heavy industry, unless we restore it, 
we shall not be able to build up an industry at all; and 
without an industry we shall go under as an independent, 
country. We realise this very well. 

The salvation of Russia lies not only in a good harvest 
on the peasant farms — that is not enough; and not only in 
the good condition of light industry, which provides the 
peasantry with consumer goods — this, too, is not enough; 
we also need heavy industry. And to put it in a good con- 
dition will require several years of work. 

Heavy industry needs state subsidies. If we are not 
able to provide them, we shall be doomed as a civilised 
state, let alone as a socialist state. In this respect, we 
have taken a determined step. We have begun to accumulate 
the funds that we need to put heavy industry on its feet. 
True, the sum we have obtained so far barely exceeds 
twenty million gold rubles; but at any rate this sum is 
available, and it is earmarked exclusively for the purpose 
of reviving our heavy industry. 

I think that, on the whole, I have, as I have promised, 
briefly outlined the principal elements of our economy, and 
feel that we may draw the conclusion from all this that the 


New Economic Policy has already yielded dividends. We 
already have proof that, as a state, we are able to trade, 
to maintain our strong positions in agriculture and 
industry, and to make progress. Practical activity has proved 
it. I think this is sufficient for us for the time being. We 
shall have to learn much, and we have realised that we 
still have much to learn. We have been in power for five 
years, and during these five years we have been in a state 
of war. Hence, we have been successful. 

This is understandable, because the peasantry were on 
our side. Probably no one could have supported us more 
than they did. They were aware that the whiteguards had 
the landowners behind them, and they hate the landowners 
more than anything in the world. That is why the peas- 
antry supported us with all their enthusiasm and loyalty. 
It was not difficult to get the peasantry to defend us against 
the whiteguards. The peasants, who had always hated 
war, did all they possibly could in the war against the 
whiteguards, in the Civil War against the landowners. 
But this was not all, because in substance it was only 
a matter of whether power would remain in the hands 
of the landowners or of the peasants. This was not enough 
for us. The peasants know that we have seized power for 
the workers and that our aim is to use this power to 
establish the socialist system. Therefore, the most 
important thing for us was to lay the economic foundation 
for socialist economy. We could not do it directly. We 
had to do it in a roundabout way. The state capitalism 
that we have introduced in our country is of a special kind. 
It does not agree with the usual conception of state 
capitalism. We hold all the key positions. We hold 
the land; it belongs to the state. This is very im- 
portant, although our opponents try to make out that 
it is of no importance at all. That is untrue. The fact that 
the land belongs to the state is extremely important, and 
economically it is also of great practical purport. This 
we have achieved, and I must say that all our future activ- 
ities should develop only within that framework. We have 
already succeeded in making the peasantry content and 
in reviving both industry and trade. I have already said 
that our state capitalism differs from state capitalism 



in the literal sense of the term in that our proletarian state 
not only owns the land, but also all the vital branches 
of industry. To begin with, we have leased only a certain 
number of the small and medium plants, but all the rest 
remain in our hands. As regards trade, I want to re- 
emphasise that we are trying to found mixed companies, 
that we are already forming them, i.e., companies in which 
part of the capital belongs to private capitalists — and 
foreign capitalists at that — and the other part belongs 
to the state. Firstly, in this way we are learning how to 
trade, and that is what we need. Secondly, we are always 
in a position to dissolve these companies if we deem it 
necessary, and do not, therefore, run any risks, so to speak. 
We are learning from the private capitalist and looking 
round to see how we can progress, and what mistakes we 
make. It seems to me that I need say no more. 

I should still like to deal with several minor points. 
Undoubtedly, we have done, and will still do, a host of 
foolish things. No one can judge and see this better than I. 
(Laughter.) Why do we do these foolish things? The reason 
is clear: firstly, because we are a backward country; second- 
ly, because education in our country is at a low level; 
and thirdly, because we are getting no outside assistance. 
Not a single civilised country is helping us. On the 
contrary, they are all working against us. Fourthly, our 
machinery of state is to blame. We took over the old 
machinery of state, and that was our misfortune. Very often 
this machinery operates against us. In 1917, after we seized 
power, the government officials sabotaged us. This fright- 
ened us very much and we pleaded: "Please come back." 
They all came back, but that was our misfortune. We 
now have a vast army of government employees, but lack 
sufficiently educated forces to exercise real control over 
them. In practice it often happens that here at the top, 
where we exercise political power, the machine functions 
somehow; but down below government employees have 
arbitrary control and they often exercise it in such a way 
as to counteract our measures. At the top, we have, I don't 
know how many, but at all events, I think, no more than 
a few thousand, at the outside several tens of thousands 
of our own people. Down below, however, there are hundreds 


of thousands of old officials whom we got from the tsar 
and from bourgeois society and who, partly deliberately 
and partly unwittingly, work against us. It is clear that 
nothing can be done in that respect overnight. It will 
take many years of hard work to improve the machinery, 
to remodel it, and to enlist new forces. We are doing this 
fairly quickly, perhaps too quickly. Soviet schools and 
Workers' Faculties have been formed; a few hundred thou- 
sand young people are studying; they are studying too fast 
perhaps, but at all events, a start has been made, and I 
think this work will bear fruit. If we do not work too hur- 
riedly we shall, in a few years' time, have a large body 
of young people capable of thoroughly overhauling our 
state apparatus. 

I have said that we have done a host of foolish things, 
but I must also say a word or two in this respect about 
our enemies. If our enemies blame us and say that Lenin 
himself admits that the Bolsheviks have done a host of 
foolish things, I want to reply to this: yes, but you know, 
the foolish things we have done are nonetheless very differ- 
ent from yours. We have only just begun to learn, but are 
learning so methodically that we are certain to achieve good 
results. But since our enemies, i.e., the capitalists and 
the heroes of the Second International, lay stress on the 
foolish things we have done, I take the liberty, for the 
sake of comparison, to cite the words of a celebrated Rus- 
sian author, which I shall amend to read as follows: if the 
Bolsheviks do foolish things the Bolshevik says, "Twice 
two are five", but when their enemies, i.e., the capitalists 
and the heroes of the Second International, do foolish 
things, they get, "Twice two make a tallow candle". 139 That 
is easily proved. Take, for example, the agreement conclud- 
ed by the U.S.A., Great Britain, France and Japan with 
Kolchak. I ask you, are there any more enlightened and 
more powerful countries in the world? But what has- 
happened? They promised to help Kolchak without calcula- 
tion, without reflection, and without circumspection. It 
ended in a fiasco, which, it seems to me, is difficult for the 
human intellect to grasp. 

Or take another example, a closer and more important 
one: the Treaty of Versailles. I ask you, what have the 



"great" powers which have "covered themselves with 
glory" done? How will they find a way out of this chaos 
and confusion? I don't think it will be an exaggeration 
to repeat that the foolish things we have done are nothing 
compared with those done in concert by the capitalist 
countries, the capitalist world and the Second Interna- 
tional. That is why I think that the outlook for the world 
revolution — a subject which I must touch on briefly — is 
favourable. And given a certain definite condition, I think 
it will be even better. I should like to say a few words 
about this. 

At the Third Congress, in 1921, we adopted a resolution 
on the organisational structure of the Communist Parties 
and on the methods and content of their activities. The 
resolution is an excellent one, but it is almost entirely 
Russian, that is to say, everything in it is based on Russian 
conditions. This is its good point, but it is also its failing. 
It is its failing because I am sure that no foreigner can 
read it. I have read it again before saying this. In the first 
place, it is too long, containing fifty or more points. For- 
eigners are not usually able to read such things. Secondly, 
even if they read it, they will not understand it because 
it is too Russian. Not because it is written in Russian — 
it has been excellently translated into all languages — but 
because it is thoroughly imbued with the Russian spirit. 
And thirdly, if by way of exception some foreigner does 
understand it, he cannot carry it out. This is its third 
defect. I have talked with a few of the foreign delegates 
and hope to discuss matters in detail with a large number 
of delegates from different countries during the Congress, 
although I shall not take part in its proceedings, for 
unfortunately it is impossible for me to do that. I have the 
impression that we made a big mistake with this resolu- 
tion, namely, that we blocked our own road to further 
success. As I have said already, the resolution is excellent- 
ly drafted; I am prepared to subscribe to every one of 
its fifty or more points. But we have not learnt how to 
present our Russian experience to foreigners. All that 
was said in the resolution has remained a dead letter. If 
we do not realise this, we shall be unable to move ahead. 
I think that after five years of the Russian revolution the 


most important thing for all of us, Russian and foreign 
comrades alike, is to sit down and study. We have only 
now obtained the opportunity to do so. I do not know 
how long this opportunity will last. I do not know for how 
long the capitalist powers will give us the opportunity to 
study in peace. But we must take advantage of every 
moment of respite from fighting, from war, to study, and 
to study from scratch. 

The whole Party and all strata of the population of 
Russia prove this by their thirst for knowledge. This striv- 
ing to learn shows that our most important task today 
is to study and to study hard. Our foreign comrades, too, 
must study. I do not mean that they have to learn to read 
and write and to understand what they read, as we still 
have to do. There is a dispute as to whether this concerns 
proletarian or bourgeois culture. I shall leave that question 
open. But one thing is certain: we have to begin by learn- 
ing to read and write and to understand what we read. 
Foreigners do not need that. They need something more 
advanced: first of all, among other things they must learn 
to understand what we have written about the organisa- 
tional structure of the Communist Parties, and what the 
foreign comrades have signed without reading and under- 
standing. This must be their first task. That resolution 
must be carried out. It cannot be carried out overnight; 
that is absolutely impossible. The resolution is too Russian, 
it reflects Russian experience. That is why it is quite unin- 
telligible to foreigners, and they cannot be content with 
hanging it in a corner like an icon and praying to it. Noth- 
ing will be achieved that way. They must assimilate part 
of the Russian experience. Just how that will be done, 
I do not know. The fascists in Italy may, for example, 
render us a great service by showing the Italians that they 
are not yet sufficiently enlightened and that their country 
is not yet ensured against the Black Hundreds. 140 Perhaps 
this will be very useful. We Russians must also find ways 
and means of explaining the principles of this resolution 
to the foreigners. Unless we do that, it will be absolutely 
impossible for them to carry it out. I am sure that in this 
connection we must tell not only the Russians, but the 
foreign comrades as well, that the most important thing 



in the period we are now entering is to study. We are study- 
ing in the general sense. They, however, must study in the 
special sense, in order that they may really understand 
the organisation, structure, method and content of revo- 
lutionary work. If they do that, I am sure the prospects 
of the world revolution will be not only good, but excel- 
lent. (Stormy, prolonged applause. Shouts of "Long live 
our Comrade Lenin!" evoke a fresh stormy ovation.) 

Pravda No. 258, Published according to the text 

November 15, 1922 in Bullenten Chetvyortogo 

Kongressa Kommunisticheskogo 
Internatsionala (Bulletin of the 
Fourth Congress of the Commu- 
nist International) No. 8, Novem- 
ber 16, 1922, checked with the 
verbatim report in German cor- 
rected by Lenin 



I attach great importance to this Exhibition; I am sure 
that all organisations will co-operate with it in every way. 
With all my heart I wish you the best success. 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 

November 14, 1922 

Published in 1922 Published according to 

the manuscript 



November 15, 1922 

Dear Friends, 

I take this opportunity to send you best greetings. I have 
been seriously ill, and for over a year I have not been 
able to see a single one of the productions of your group. 
I hope that your organisation "des anciens combattants"* 
still exists and is growing stronger not only numerically, 
but also spiritually, in the sense of intensifying and spread- 
ing the struggle against imperialist war. It is worth devot- 
ing one's whole life to the struggle against this kind of 
war; it is a struggle in which one must be ruthless and 
chase to the furthermost corners of the earth all the soph- 
istry that is uttered in its defence. 

Best greetings. 



First published in 1925 Published according to 

in French in Clarte No. 71 the manuscript 

First published in Russian 
in 1930 

Ex-servicemen. — Ed. 


NOVEMBER 20, 1922 143 

(Stormy applause. "The Internationale" is sung.) Com- 
rades, I regret very much and apologise that I have been 
unable to come to your session earlier. As far as I know 
you intended a few weeks ago to give me an opportunity 
of attending the Moscow Soviet. I could not come because 
after my illness, from December onwards, I was incapa- 
citated, to use the professional term, for quite a long time, 
and because of this reduced ability to work had to post- 
pone my present address from week to week. A very con- 
siderable portion of my work which, as you will remem- 
ber, I had first piled on Comrade Tsyurupa, and then on 
Comrade Rykov, I also had to pile additionally on Comrade 
Kamenev. And I must say that, to employ a simile I have 
already used, he was suddenly burdened with two loads. 
Though, to continue the simile, it should be said that the 
horse has proved to be an exceptionally capable and zeal- 
ous one. (Applause.) All the same, however, nobody is 
supposed to drag two loads, and I am now waiting impa- 
tiently for Comrades Tsyurupa and Rykov to return, and 
we shall divide up the work at least a little more fairly. 
As for myself, in view of my reduced ability to work it 
takes me much more time to look into matters than I should 

In December 1921, when I had to stop working alto- 
gether, it was the year's end. We were effecting the transi- 
tion to the New Economic Policy, and it turned out already 
then that, although we had embarked upon this transition 
in the beginning of 1921, it was quite a difficult, I would 



say a very difficult, transition. We have now been effect- 
ing this transition for more than eighteen months, and 
one would think that it was time the majority took up new 
places and disposed themselves according to the new 
conditions, particularly those of the New Economic 

As to foreign policy, we had the fewest changes in that 
field. We pursued the line that we had adopted earlier, 
and I think I can say with a clear conscience that we pur- 
sued it quite consistently and with enormous success. 
There is no need, I think, to deal with that in detail; the 
capture of Vladivostok, the ensuing demonstration and 
the declaration of federation which you read in the press 144 
the other day have proved and shown with the utmost 
clarity that no changes are necessary in this respect. The 
road we are on is absolutely clearly and well defined, and 
has ensured us success in face of all the countries of the 
world, although some of them are still prepared to declare 
that they refuse to sit at one table with us. Nevertheless, 
economic relations, followed by diplomatic relations, are 
improving, must improve, and certainly will improve. 
Every country which resists this risks being late, and, 
perhaps in some quite substantial things, it risks 
being at a disadvantage. All of us see this now, and not 
only from the press, from the newspapers. I think that in 
their trips abroad comrades are also finding the changes 
very great. In that respect, to use an old simile, we have 
not changed to other trains, or to other conveyances. 

But as regards our home policy, the change we made 
in the spring of 1921, which was necessitated by such ex- 
tremely powerful and convincing circumstances that no 
debates or disagreements arose among us about it — that 
change continues to cause us some difficulties, great diffi- 
culties, I would say. Not because we have any doubts 
about the need for the turn — no doubts exist in that respect — 
not because we have any doubts as to whether the test of 
our New Economic Policy has yielded the successes we 
expected. No doubts exist on that score — I can say this 
quite definitely — either in the ranks of our Party or in 
the ranks of the huge mass of non-Party workers and 



In this sense the problem presents no difficulties. The 
difficulties we have stem from our being faced with a task 
whose solution very often requires the services of new 
people, extraordinary measures and extraordinary methods. 
Doubts still exist among us as to whether this or that is 
correct. There are changes in one direction or another. 
And it should be said that both will continue for quite 
a long time. "The New Economic Policy!" A strange title. 
It was called a New Economic Policy because it turned 
things back. We are now retreating, going back, as it were; 
but we are doing so in order, after first retreating, to take 
a running start and make a bigger leap forward. It was on 
this condition alone that we retreated in pursuing our New 
Economic Policy. Where and how we must now regroup, 
adapt and reorganise in order to start a most stubborn 
offensive after our retreat, we do not yet know. To carry 
out all these operations properly we need, as the proverb 
says, to look not ten but a hundred times before we leap. 
We must do so in order to cope with the incredible diffi- 
culties we encounter in dealing with all our tasks and 
problems. You know perfectly well what sacrifices have 
been made to achieve what has been achieved; you know 
how long the Civil War has dragged on and what effort 
it has cost. Well now, the capture of Vladivostok has shown 
all of us (though Vladivostok is a long way off, it is after 
all one of our own towns) {prolonged applause) everybody's 
desire to join us, to join in our achievements. The Russian 
Soviet Federative Socialist Republic now stretches from 
here to there. This desire has rid us both of our civil enemies 
and of the foreign enemies who attacked us. I am referring 
to Japan. 

We have won quite a definite diplomatic position, recog- 
nised by the whole world. All of you see it. You see its 
results, but how much time we needed to get it! We have 
now won the recognition of our rights by our enemies both 
in economic and in commercial policy. This is proved by 
the conclusion of trade agreements. 

We can see why we, who eighteen months ago took the 
path of the so-called New Economic Policy, are finding 
it so incredibly difficult to advance along that path. We 
live in a country devastated so severely by war, knocked 



out of anything like the normal course of life, in a country 
that has suffered and endured so much, that willy-nilly 
we are beginning all our calculations with a very, very 
small percentage — the pre-war percentage. We apply this 
yardstick to the conditions of our life, we sometimes do 
so very impatiently, heatedly, and always end up with 
the conviction that the difficulties are vast. The task we 
have set ourselves in this field seems all the more vast 
because we are comparing it with the state of affairs in any 
ordinary bourgeois country. We have set ourselves this 
task because we understood that it was no use expecting 
the wealthy powers to give us the assistance usually 
forthcoming under such circumstances.* After the Civil 
War we have been subjected to very nearly a boycott, that 
is, we have been told that the economic ties that are custom- 
ary and normal in the capitalist world will not be main- 
tained in our case. 

Over eighteen months have passed since we undertook 
the New Economic Policy, and even a longer period has 
passed since we concluded our first international treaty. 
Nonetheless, this boycott of us by all the bourgeoisie and 
all governments continues to be felt. We could not count 
on anything else when we adopted the new economic 
conditions; yet we had no doubt that we had to make the 
change and achieve success single-handed. The further we go, 
the clearer it becomes that any aid that may be rendered 
to us, that will be rendered to us by the capitalist powers, 
will, far from eliminating this condition, in all likeli- 
hood and in the overwhelming majority of cases intensify 
it, accentuate it still further. "Single-handed" — we told 
ourselves. "Single-handed" — we are told by almost every 
capitalist country with which we have concluded any 
deals, with which we have undertaken any engagements, 

* In the verbatim report the text reads further: "and that even 
if we took into consideration the extremely high, say such-and-such 
a rate of interest, that is imposed in these circumstances on a coun- 
try that, to use the accepted term, is rendered aid. Properly speak- 
ing, these rates of interest are very far from being aid. To put it blunt- 
ly, they would deserve a far less polite term than the word aid, 
but even these usual conditions would have been onerous for us." — Ed. 



with which we have begun any negotiations. And that is 
where the special difficulty lies. We must realise this 
difficulty. We have built up our own political system in 
more than three years of work, incredibly hard work that 
was incredibly full of heroism. In the position in which we 
were till now we had no time to see whether we would 
smash something needlessly, no time to see whether there 
would be many sacrifices, because there were sacrifices 
enough, because the struggle which we then began (you 
know this perfectly well and there is no need to dwell on 
it) was a life-and-death struggle against the old social 
system, against which we fought to forge for ourselves 
a right to existence, to peaceful development. And we have 
won it. It is not we who say this, it is not the testimony 
of witnesses who may be accused of being partial to us. 
It is the testimony of witnesses who are in the camp of 
our enemies and who are naturally partial — not in our 
favour, however, but against us. These witnesses were in 
Denikin's camp. They directed the occupation. And we 
know that their partiality cost us very dear, cost us colos- 
sal destruction. We suffered all sorts of losses on their 
account, and lost values of all kinds, including the greatest 
of all values — human lives — on an incredibly large scale. 
Now we must scrutinise our tasks most carefully and 
understand that the main task will be not to give up our 
previous gains. We shall not give up a single one of our 
old gains. (Applause.) Yet we are also faced with an en- 
tirely new task; the old may prove a downright obstacle. 
To understand this task is most difficult. Yet it must be 
understood, so that we may learn how to work when, so 
to speak, it is necessary to turn ourselves inside out. I 
think, comrades, that these words and slogans are under- 
standable, because for nearly a year, during my enforced 
absence, you have had in practice, handling the jobs on 
hand, to speak and think of this in various ways and on 
hundreds of occasions, and I am confident that your reflec- 
tions on that score can only lead to one conclusion, namely, 
that today we must display still more of the flexibility 
which we employed till now in the Civil War. 

We must not abandon the old. The series of concessions 
that adapt us to the capitalist powers is a series of 



concessions that enables them to make contact with us, ensures 
them a profit which is sometimes bigger, perhaps, than it 
should be. At the same time, we are conceding but a little 
part of the means of production, which are held almost 
entirely by our state. The other day the papers discussed 
the concession proposed by the Englishman Urquhart, 
who has hitherto been against us almost throughout the 
Civil War. He used to say: "We shall achieve our aim in 
the Civil War against Russia, against the Russia that 
has dared to deprive us of this and of that." And after all 
that we had to enter into negotiations with him. We did 
not refuse them, we undertook them with the greatest 
joy, but we said: "Beg your pardon, but we shall not give 
up what we have won. Our Russia is so big, our economic 
potentialities are so numerous, and we feel justified in not 
rejecting your kind proposal, but we shall discuss it soberly, 
like businessmen." True, nothing came of our first talk, 
because we could not agree to his proposal for political 
reasons. We had to reject it. So long as the British did not 
entertain the possibility of our participating in the nego- 
tiations on the Straits, the Dardanelles, we had to reject 
it, but right after doing so we had to start examining the 
matter in substance. We discussed whether or not it was 
of advantage to us, whether we would profit from conclud- 
ing this concession agreement, and if so, under what cir- 
cumstances it would be profitable. We had to talk about 
the price. That, comrades, is what shows you clearly how 
much our present approach to problems should differ from 
our former approach. Formerly the Communist said: "I 
give my life", and it seemed very simple to him, although 
it was not always so simple. Now, however, we Communists 
face quite another task. We must now take all things into 
account, and each of you must learn to be prudent. We 
must calculate how, in the capitalist environment, we can 
ensure our existence, how we can profit by our enemies, 
who, of course, will bargain, who have never forgotten 
how to bargain and will bargain at our expense. We are 
not forgetting that either, and do not in the least imagine 
commercial people anywhere turning into lambs and, 
having turned into lambs, offering us blessings of all sorts 
for nothing. That does not happen, and we do not expect 



it, but count on the fact that we, who are accustomed to 
putting up a fight, will find a way out and prove capable 
of trading, and profiting, and emerging safely from diffi- 
cult economic situations. That is a very difficult task. 
That is the task we are working on now. I should like us 
to realise clearly how great is the abyss between the old 
and the new tasks. However great the abyss may be, we 
learned to manoeuvre during the war, and we must under- 
stand that the manoeuvre we now have to perform, in the 
midst of which we now are, is the most difficult one. But 
then it seems to be our last manoeuvre. We must test our 
strength in this field and prove that we have learned more 
than just the lessons of yesterday and do not just keep 
repeating the fundamentals. Nothing of the kind. We have 
begun to relearn, and shall relearn in such a way that we 
shall achieve definite and obvious success. And it is for 
the sake of this relearning, I think, that we must again 
firmly promise one another that under the name of the 
New Economic Policy we have turned back, but turned 
back in such a way as to surrender nothing of the new, 
and yet to give the capitalists such advantages as will 
compel any state, however hostile to us, to establish con- 
tacts and to deal with us. Comrade Krasin, who has had 
many talks with Urquhart, the head and backbone of the 
whole intervention, said that Urquhart, after all his 
attempts to foist the old system on us at all costs, throughout 
Russia, seated himself at the same table with him, with 
Krasin, and began asking: "What's the price? How much? 
For how many years?" (Applause.) This is still quite far 
from our concluding concession deals and thus entering 
into treaty relations that are perfectly precise and bind- 
ing — from the viewpoint of bourgeois society — but we can 
already see that we are coming to it, have nearly come to 
it, but have not quite arrived. We must admit that, com- 
rades, and not be swell-headed. We are still far from having 
fully achieved the things that will make us strong, self- 
reliant and calmly confident that no capitalist deals can 
frighten us, calmly confident that however difficult a deal 
may be we shall conclude it, we shall get to the bottom of 
it and settle it. That is why the work — both political and 
Party — that we have begun in this sphere must be 



continued, and that is why we must change from the old 
methods to entirely new ones. 

We still have the old machinery, and our task now is 
to remould it along new lines. We cannot do so at once, but 
we must see to it that the Communists we have are prop- 
erly placed. What we need is that they, the Communists, 
should control the machinery they are assigned to, and 
not, as so often happens with us, that the machinery should 
control them. We should make no secret of it, and speak 
of it frankly. Such are the tasks and the difficulties that 
confront us — and that at a moment when we have set out 
on our practical path, when we must not approach socialism as 
if it were an icon painted in festive colours. We need to 
take the right direction, we need to see that everything 
is checked, that the masses, the entire population, check 
the path we follow and say: "Yes, this is better than the 
old system." That is the task we have set ourselves. Our 
Party, a little group of people in comparison with the coun- 
try's total population, has tackled this job. This tiny 
nucleus has set itself the task of remaking everything, 
and it will do so. We have proved that this is no utopia 
but a cause which people live by. We have all seen this. 
This has already been done. We must remake things in 
such a way that the great majority of the masses, the peas- 
ants and workers, will say: "It is not you who praise 
yourselves, but we. We say that you have achieved splendid 
results, after which no intelligent person will ever dream 
of returning to the old." We have not reached that point 
yet. That is why NEP remains the main, current, and all- 
embracing slogan of today. We shall not forget a single 
one of the slogans we learned yesterday. We can say that 
quite calmly, without the slightest hesitation, say it to 
anybody, and every step we take demonstrates it. But we 
still have to adapt ourselves to the New Economic Policy. 
We must know how to overcome, to reduce to a definite 
minimum all its negative features, which there is no need 
to enumerate and which you know perfectly well. We must 
know how to arrange everything shrewdly. Our legislation 
gives us every opportunity to do so. Shall we be able to 
get things going properly? That is still-far from being 
settled. We are making a study of things. Every issue of 



our Party newspaper offers you a dozen articles which 
tell you that at such-and-such a factory, owned by so-and- 
so, the rental terms are such-and-such, whereas at another, 
where our Communist comrade is the manager, the terms 
are such-and-such. Does it yield a profit or not, does it 
pay its way or not? We have approached the very core of 
the everyday problems, and that is a tremendous achieve- 
ment. Socialism is no longer a matter of the distant future, 
or an abstract picture, or an icon. Our opinion of icons is 
the same — a very bad one. We have brought socialism 
into everyday life and must here see how matters stand. 
That is the task of our day, the task of our epoch. Permit 
me to conclude by expressing confidence that difficult as 
this task may be, new as it may be compared with our 
previous task, and numerous as the difficulties may be 
that it entails, we shall all — not in a day, but in a few 
years — all of us together fulfil it whatever the cost, so 
that NEP Russia will become socialist Russia. {Stormy, 
prolonged applause.) 

Pravda No. 263, Published according to 

November 21, 1922 the Pravda text 

checked with 
the verbatim report 



November 22, 1922 

Dear Comrades, 

The primary, immediate task of the present day, and of 
the next few years, is systematically to reduce the size 
and the cost of the Soviet machinery of state by cutting 
down staffs, improving organisation, eliminating red tape 
and bureaucracy, and by reducing unproductive expend- 
iture. In this field your union has a great deal of work 
before it. 

Wishing the Fifth All-Russia Congress of the Soviet 
Employees' Union success and fruitful work, I hope that 
it will especially deal with the question of the Soviet 
machinery of state. 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin), 
Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars 

Izvestia No. 267, 
November 25, 1922 

Published according to 
a typewritten copy checked 
and signed by Lenin 



Thank you for your greetings, comrades. I wish you 
success in grappling with the great and responsible task 
before you of training the rising generation for the work 
of building up our new society. 


Written on November 26, 1922 

Published according to 
the Rabotnik Prosveshche- 
niya text 

Published in Rabotnik 
Prosveshcheniya No. 10, 
December 1922 




December 4, 1922 

Dear Comrades, 

I regret that I cannot greet you in person. I send you 
my best wishes for success in your work. I hope that not- 
withstanding your lofty title you will not forget the main 
thing, namely, that it is necessary to promote in a practi- 
cal manner the training and education of young people. 

With best communist greetings, 

V. Ulyanov (Lenin) 

Pravda No. 275, 
December 5, 1922 

Published according to 
a typewritten copy corrected 
and signed by Lenin 



On the question of combating the danger of war, in 
connection with the Conference at The Hague, I think that 
the greatest difficulty lies in overcoming the prejudice 
that this is a simple, clear and comparatively easy question. 

"We shall retaliate to war by a strike or a revolution" — 
that is what all the prominent reformist leaders usually 
say to the working class. And very often the seeming radi- 
calness of the measures proposed satisfies and appeases 
the workers, co-operators and peasants. 

Perhaps the most correct method would be to start with 
the sharpest refutation of this opinion; to declare that 
particularly now, after the recent war, only the most 
foolish or utterly dishonest people can assert that such an 
answer to the question of combating war is of any use; 
to declare that it is impossible to "retaliate" to war by a 
strike, just as it is impossible to "retaliate" to war by 
revolution in the simple and literal sense of these terms. 

We must explain the real situation to the people, show 
them that war is hatched in the greatest secrecy, and that 
the ordinary workers' organisations, even if they call 
themselves revolutionary organisations, are utterly helpless 
in face of a really impending war. 

We must explain to the people again and again in the 
most concrete manner possible how matters stood in the 
last war, and why they could not have been otherwise. 

We must take special pains to explain that the question 
of "defence of the fatherland" will inevitably arise, and 
that the overwhelming majority of the working people 
will inevitably decide it in favour of their bourgeoisie. 



Therefore, first, it is necessary to explain what "defence 
of the fatherland" means. Second, in connection with this, 
it is necessary to explain what "defeatism" means. Lastly, 
we must explain that the only possible method of combat- 
ing war is to preserve existing, and to form new, illegal 
organisations in which all revolutionaries taking part in 
a war carry on prolonged anti-war activities — all this 
must be brought into the forefront. 

Boycott war — that is a silly catch-phrase. Communists 
must take part in every war, even the most reactionary. 

Examples from, say, pre-war German literature, and 
in particular, the example of the Basle Congress of 1912, 
should be used as especially concrete proof that the theo- 
retical admission that war is criminal, that socialists 
cannot condone war, etc., turn out to be empty phrases, 
because there is nothing concrete in them. The masses are 
not given a really vivid idea of how war may and will 
creep up on them. On the contrary, every day the dominant 
press, in an infinite number of copies, obscures this 
question and weaves such lies around it that the feeble 
socialist press is absolutely impotent against it, the more so 
that even in time of peace it propounds fundamentally 
erroneous views on this point. In all probability, the 
communist press in most countries will also disgrace 

I think that our delegates at the International Congress 
of Co-operators and Trade Unionists should distribute 
their functions among themselves and expose all the soph- 
istries that are being advanced at the present time in 
justification of war. 

These sophistries are, perhaps, the principal means by 
which the bourgeois press rallies the masses in support 
of war; and the main reason why we are so impotent in face 
of war is either that we do not expose these sophistries 
beforehand, or still more that we, in the spirit of the Basle 
Manifesto of 1912, waive them aside with the cheap, boast- 
ful and utterly empty phrase that we shall not allow war 
to break out, that we fully understand that war is a crime, 

I think that if we have several people at The Hague 
Conference who are capable of delivering speeches against 



war in various languages, the most important thing would 
be to refute the opinion that the delegates at the Confer- 
ence are opponents of war, that they understand how war 
may and will come upon them at the most unexpected 
moment, that they to any extent understand what methods 
should be adopted to combat war, that they are to any 
extent in a position to adopt reasonable and effective meas- 
ures to combat war. 

Using the experience of the recent war to illustrate the 
point, we must explain what a host of both theoretical 
and practical questions will arise on the morrow of 
the declaration of war, and that the vast majority of 
the men called up for military service will have no 
opportunity to examine these questions with anything 
like clear heads, or in a conscientious and unprejudiced 

I think that this question must be explained in extraor- 
dinary detail, and in two ways: 

First, by relating and analysing what happened during 
the last war and telling all those present that they are 
ignorant of this, or pretend that they know about it, but 
actually shut their eyes to what is the very pivot of the 
question which must be understood if any real efforts are 
to be made to combat war. On this point I think it is neces- 
sary to examine all the opinions and shades of opinion 
that arose among Russian socialists concerning the last 
war. We must show that those shades of opinion did not 
emerge accidentally, but out of the very nature of modern 
wars in general. We must prove that without an analysis 
of these opinions, without ascertaining why they inevitably 
arise and why they are of decisive significance in the matter 
of combating war — without such an analysis it is utterly 
impossible to make any preparations for war, or even to 
take an intelligent stand on it. 

Secondly, we must take the present conflicts, even the 
most insignificant, to illustrate the fact that war may 
break out any day as a consequence of a dispute between 
Great Britain and France over some point of their treaty 
with Turkey, or between the U.S.A. and Japan over some 
trivial disagreement on any Pacific question, or between 
any of the big powers over colonies, tariffs, or general 



commercial policy, etc., etc. It seems to me that if there 
is the slightest doubt about being able at The Hague to 
say all we want to say against war with the utmost freedom, 
we should consider various stratagems that will enable 
us to say at least what is most important and to 
publish in pamphlet form what could not be said. We 
must take the risk of our speaker being stopped by 
the chairman. 

I think that for the same purpose the delegation should 
consist not only of speakers who are able, and whose duty 
it shall be, to make speeches against war as a whole, i.e., 
to enlarge on all the main arguments and all the conditions 
for combating war, but also of people who know all the 
three principal foreign languages, whose business it shall 
be to enter into conversation with the delegates and to 
ascertain how far they understand the main arguments, 
what need there is to advance certain arguments and to 
quote certain examples. 

Perhaps on a number of questions the mere quoting of 
fact of the last war will be sufficient to produce serious 
effect. Perhaps on a number of other questions serious 
effect can be produced only by explaining the conflicts 
that exist today between the various countries and how 
likely they are to develop into armed collisions. 

Apropos of the question of combating war, I remember 
that a number of declarations have been made by our Com- 
munist deputies, in parliament and outside parliament, 
which contain monstrously incorrect and monstrously 
thoughtless statements on this subject. I think these decla- 
rations, particularly if they have been made since the 
war, must be subjected to determined and ruthless criticism, 
and the name of each person who made them should be 
mentioned. Opinion concerning these speakers may be 
expressed in the mildest terms, particularly if circum- 
stances require it, but not a single case of this kind should 
be passed over in silence, for thoughtlessness on this 
question is an evil that outweighs all others and cannot 
be treated lightly. 

A number of decisions have been adopted by workers' 
congresses which are unpardonably foolish and thought- 



All material should be immediately collected, and all 
the separate parts and particles of the subject, and the whole 
"strategy" to be pursued should be thoroughly discussed 
at a congress. 

On such a question, not only a mistake, but even lack 
of thoroughness on our part will be unpardonable. 

December 4, 1922 

First published in Pravda No. 96, 
April 26, 1924 
Signed: Lenin 

Published according to 
a typewritten copy 
corrected and signed by Lenin 



My recollections of Nikolai Yevgrafovich Fedoseyev 
go back to the beginning of the nineties. I cannot vouch 
for their accuracy. 

At that time I was living in the provinces — namely 
in Kazan and in Samara. I heard about Fedoseyev while 
I was in Kazan, but I never met him. In the spring of 1889 
I went to live in Samara Gubernia, where, at the end of 
the summer, I heard of the arrest of Fedoseyev and of 
other members of study circles in Kazan — including the 
one to which I belonged. I think that I, too, might easily 
have been arrested had I remained in Kazan that summer. 
Soon after this, Marxism, as a trend, began to spread, 
merging with the Social-Democratic trend initiated in 
Western Europe very much earlier by the Emancipation 
of Labour group. 150 

Fedoseyev was one of the first to proclaim his adherence 
to the Marxist trend. I remember that this was the grounds 
of his polemics with N. K. Mikhailovsky, who in Rus- 
skoye Bogatstvo 151 replied to one of his secretly circulated 
letters. This, too, prompted me to start corresponding with 
Fedoseyev. I remember that the go-between in our corres- 
pondence was Hopfenhaus, whom I met once, and through 
whom I made an unsuccessful attempt to arrange a meet- 
ing with Fedoseyev in Vladimir. I went to that town in 
the hope that he would succeed in getting out of the prison, 
but I was disappointed. 152 

Later, Fedoseyev was exiled to Eastern Siberia. This 
was at the time I was in exile there; and it was in Siberia 
that he committed suicide, because, I think, of certain 
tragic incidents in his private life connected with the 
exceptionally unhappy conditions under which he lived. 



As far as I remember, my correspondence with Fedoseyev 
was concerned with the problems that then arose about 
the Marxist or Social-Democratic world outlook. I partic- 
ularly remember that Fedoseyev enjoyed the affection of 
all those who knew him, and was regarded as a typical 
old-time revolutionary, entirely devoted to his cause, 
who, perhaps, had made his conditions worse by certain 
statements, or unguarded actions towards the gendarmes. 

Probably I have some fragments of Fedoseyev's letters 
or manuscripts somewhere, but I cannot say definitely 
whether they have been preserved or may be found. 

At all events, Fedoseyev played a very important role in 
the Volga area and in certain parts of Central Russia during 
that period; and the turn towards Marxism at that time 
was, undoubtedly, very largely due to the influence of 
this exceptionally talented and exceptionally devoted 

December 6, 1922 

Published in N. Y. Fedoseyev, Published according to 

a Pioneer of Revolutionary Marxism the text in the collection 

in Russia (A Collection of Reminis- 
cences), Moscow-Petrograd, 1923 
Signed: Lenin 



I welcome the opening of the All-Ukraine Congress of 

One of the most important problems which the Congress 
has to solve is that of uniting the republics. The proper 
solution of this problem will determine the future organ- 
isation of our machinery of state, the glaring defects of 
which were so vividly and strikingly revealed by the recent 
census of Soviet employees in Moscow, Petrograd and 

The second problem to which the Congress must devote 
special attention is that of our heavy industry. To raise 
the output of the Donbas and of the oil and iron and steel 
industries to pre-war level is the fundamental problem 
of our entire economy; and we must concentrate all our 
efforts on solving this problem. 

I am firmly convinced that the Congress will find the 
correct solutions for these problems, and with all my heart 
I wish you success in your work. 


December 10, 1922 

Kommunist (Kharkov) No. 285, Published according to 

December 12, 1922 the Kommunist text 

checked with 
a typewritten copy 




I think it is most important to discuss Comrade Bukha- 
rin's letter. His first point says that "neither Lenin nor 
Krasin says a word about the incalculable losses that are 
borne by the economy of the country as a consequence of 
the inefficiency of the People's Commissariat of Foreign 
Trade, due to the 'principles' on which it is organised; 
they do not say a word about the losses incurred because 
we ourselves are unable (and will not be able for a long 
time for quite understandable reasons) to mobilise the 
peasants' stocks of goods and use them for international 

This statement is positively untrue, for in his §2 Krasin 
clearly discusses the formation of mixed companies as a 
means, firstly, of mobilising the peasants' stocks of goods, 
and secondly, of obtaining for our Exchequer no less than 
half the profits accruing from this mobilisation. Thus it 
is Bukharin who is trying to evade the issue, for he refuses 
to see that the profits accruing from the "mobilisation of 
the peasants' stocks of goods" will go wholly and entirely 
into the pockets of the Nepmen. The question is: will our 
People's Commissariat of Foreign Trade operate for the 
benefit of the Nepmen or of our proletarian state? This is 
a fundamental question over which a fight can and should 
be put up at a Party Congress. 

Compared with this primary, fundamental question of 
principle, the question of the inefficiency of the People's 
Commissariat of Foreign Trade is only a minor one, for 



this inefficiency is only part and parcel of the inefficiency 
of all our People's Commissariats, and is due to their general 
social structure; to remedy this we shall require many 
years of persistent effort to improve education and to raise 
the general standard. 

The second point in Bukharin's theses says that "points 
like §5 of Krasin's theses, for example, are fully ap- 
plicable to concessions in general". This, too, is glaringly 
untrue, for Krasin's 5th thesis states that "the most per- 
nicious exploiter, the merchant, profiteer, the agent of 
foreign capital, operating with dollars, pounds and Swe- 
dish crowns, will be artificially introduced into the rural 
districts". Nothing of the kind will happen in the case of 
concessions, which not only stipulate territory, but also 
envisage special permission to trade-in specified articles; 
and what is most important, we control the trade in the 
articles specified in the concession. Without saying a sin- 
gle word in opposition to Krasin's argument that we shall 
be unable to keep free trade within the limits laid down 
by the decision of the Plenary Meeting of October 6, that 
trade will be torn out of our hands by pressure brought 
to bear not only by smugglers, but also by the entire 
peasantry — without saying a word in answer to this 
fundamental economic and class argument, Bukharin hurls 
accusations against Krasin that are amazingly groundless. 

In the third point of his letter Bukharin writes "§3 
of Krasin's theses". (By mistake he mentions §3 instead 
of §4.) "We are maintaining our frontiers", and he asks: 
"What does this mean? In reality, this means that we are 
doing nothing. It is exactly like a shop with a splendid 
window, but with nothing on its shelves (the 'shut the 
shops system')." Krasin very definitely says that we are 
maintaining our frontiers not so much by tariffs, or fron- 
tier guards, as by means of our monopoly of foreign trade. 
Bukharin does not say a word to refute this obvious, posi- 
tive and indisputable fact, nor can he do so. His sneering 
reference to the "shut the shops system" belongs to the 
category of expressions to which Marx, in his day, retorted 
with the expression "free-trader vulgaris", for it is nothing 
more than a vulgar free-trader catch-phrase. 

Further, in his fourth point, Bukharin accuses Krasin 



of failing to realise that we must improve our tariff system, 
and at the same time he says that I am wrong in talking 
about having inspectors all over the country, because 
export and import bases are the only point under discus- 
sion. Here, too, Bukharin's objections are amazingly 
thoughtless and quite beside the point; for Krasin not only 
realises that we must improve our tariff system and not 
only fully admits it, but says so with a definiteness that 
leaves no room for the slightest doubt. This improvement 
consists, firstly, in our adopting the monopoly of foreign 
trade, and secondly, in the formation of mixed com- 

Bukharin does not see — this is his most amazing mistake, 
and a purely theoretical one at that— that no tariff system 
can be effective in the epoch of imperialism when there 
are monstrous contrasts between pauper countries and 
immensely rich countries. Several times Bukharin mentions 
tariff barriers, failing to realise that under the circum- 
stances indicated any of the wealthy industrial countries 
can completely break down such tariff barriers. To do this 
it will be sufficient for it to introduce an export bounty 
to encourage the export to Russia of goods upon which we 
have imposed high import duties. All of the industrial 
countries have more than enough money for this purpose, 
and by means of such a measure any of them could easily 
ruin our home industry. 

Consequently, all Bukharin's arguments about the tariff 
system would in practice only leave Russian industry 
entirely unprotected and lead to the adoption of free trad- 
ing under a very flimsy veil. We must oppose this with all 
our might and carry our opposition right to a Party Con- 
gress, for in the present epoch of imperialism the only 
system of protection worthy of consideration is the monop- 
oly of foreign trade. 

Bukharin's accusation (in his fifth point) that Krasin 
fails to appreciate the importance of increasing circulation 
is utterly refuted by what Krasin says about mixed com- 
panies, for these mixed companies have no other purpose 
than to increase circulation and to provide real protection 
for our Russian industry and not the fictitious protection 
of tariff barriers. 



Further, in point six, in answer to me, Bukharin writes 
that he attaches no importance to the fact that the peasants 
will enter into profitable transactions, and that the strug- 
gle will proceed between the Soviet government and the 
exporters and not between the peasants and the Soviet 
government. Here, too, he is absolutely wrong, for with 
the difference in prices that I have indicated (for example, 
in Russia the price of flax is 4 rubles 50 kopeks, while in 
Britain it is 14 rubles), the exporter will be able to mobilise 
all the peasants around himself in the swiftest and most 
certain manner. In practice, Bukharin is acting as an 
advocate of the profiteer, of the petty bourgeois and of the 
upper stratum of the peasantry in opposition to the indus- 
trial proletariat, which will be totally unable to build 
up its own industry and make Russia an industrial country 
unless it has the protection, not of tariffs, but of the mono- 
poly of foreign trade. In view of the conditions at present 
prevailing in Russia, any other form of protection would be 
absolutely fictitious; it would be merely paper protection, 
from which the proletariat would derive no benefit what- 
ever. Hence, from the viewpoint of the proletariat and of 
its industry, the present fight rages around fundamental 
principles. The mixed company system is the only 
system that can be really effective in improving the 
defective machinery of the People's Commissariat of 
Foreign Trade; for under this system foreign and Russian 
merchants will be operating side by side. If we fail 
to learn the business thoroughly even under such circum- 
stances, it will prove that ours is a nation of hopeless 

By talking about "tariff barriers" we shall only be con- 
cealing from ourselves the dangers which Krasin points 
out quite clearly, and which Bukharin has failed to refute 
in the slightest degree. 

I will add that the partial opening of the frontiers would 
be fraught with grave currency dangers, for in practice 
we should be reduced to the position of Germany; there 
would be the grave danger that the petty-bourgeoisie and 
all sorts of agents of emigre Russia would penetrate into 
Russia, without our having the slightest possibility of 
exercising control over them. 



The utilisation of mixed companies as a means of 
obtaining serious and long tuition is the only road to the 
restoration of our industry. 

form, in Izvestia No. 21, 
January 26, 1924 

First published in full in 1930 
in the journal Proletarskaya 
Revolutsia No. 2-3 


Dictated by telephone 
on December 13, 1922 

First published, in abridged 

Published according to 

the stenographer s 
notes (typewritten copy) 


OF THE C.C., R.C.P.(B.) 

I have now finished winding up my affairs and can leave 
with my mind at peace. 155 I have also come to an agreement 
with Trotsky on the defence of my views on the monopoly 
of foreign trade. Only one circumstance still worries me 
very much; it is that it will be impossible for me to speak 
at the Congress of Soviets. 156 My doctors are coming on Tues- 
day and we shall see if there is even a small chance of my 
speaking. I would consider it a great inconvenience to miss 
the opportunity of speaking, to say the least. I finished 
preparing the summary a few days ago. I therefore propose 
that the writing of a report which somebody will deliver 
should go ahead and that the possibility be left open until 
Wednesday that I will perhaps personally make a speech, 
a much shorter one than usual, for example, one that will 
take three-quarters of an hour. Such a speech would in 
no way hinder the speech of my deputy (whoever you may 
appoint for this purpose), but would be useful politically 
and from the personal angle as it would eliminate cause for 
great anxiety. Please have this in mind, and if the opening 
of the Congress is delayed, inform me in good time through 
my secretary. 157 


December 15, 1922 

I am emphatically against any procrastination of the 
question of the monopoly of foreign trade. If any circum- 
stance (including the circumstance that my participation 
is desirable in the debate over this question) gives rise to 



the idea to postpone it to the next Plenary Meeting, I 
would most emphatically be against it because, firstly, 
I am sure Trotsky will uphold my views as well as I; sec- 
ondly, the statements that you, Zinoviev and, according to 
rumours, Kamenev have made prove that some members 
of the C.C. have already changed their minds; thirdly, 
and most important, any further vacillation over this 
extremely important question is absolutely impermissible 
and will wreck all our work. 


December 15, 1922 

Dictated by telephone 

Published in full according to 
the stenographer's notes 
(typewritten copy) 

First published, in abridged form, 
in 1930 in Vol. XXVII of the 2nd 
and 3rd Russian language editions 
of Lenin's Works 



The recent publication of the report on literacy among 
the population of Russia, based on the census of 1920 
(Literacy in Russia, issued by the Central Statistical Board, 
Public Education Section, Moscow, 1922), is a very im- 
portant event. 

Below I quote a table from this report on the state of 
literacy among the population of Russia in 1897 and 1920. 

Literates per 

Literates per 

Literates per 







1. European Russia 

2. North Caucasus 

3. Siberia (Western) 







Overall average 







At a time when we hold forth on proletarian culture 
and the relation in which it stands to bourgeois culture, 
facts and figures reveal that we are in a very bad way even 
as far as bourgeois culture is concerned. As might have 
been expected, it appears that we are still a very long 
way from attaining universal literacy, and that even com- 
pared with tsarist times (1897) our progress has been far 
too slow. This should serve as a stern warning and 
reproach to those who have been soaring in the empyreal 
heights of "proletarian culture". It shows what a vast 
amount of urgent spade-work we still have to do to reach 
the standard of an ordinary West-European civilised country. 



It also shows what a vast amount of work we have 
to do today to achieve, on the basis of our proletarian 
gains, anything like a real cultural standard. 

We must not confine ourselves to this incontrovertible 
but too theoretical proposition. The very next time we 
revise our quarterly budget we must take this matter up in 
a practical way as well. In the first place, of course, we 
shall have to cut down the expenditure of government 
departments other than the People's Commissariat of 
Education, and the sums thus released should be assigned 
for the latter's needs. In a year like the present, when 
we are relatively well supplied, we must not be chary in 
increasing the bread ration for schoolteachers. 

Generally speaking, it cannot be said that the work now 
being done in public education is too narrow. Quite a lot 
is being done to get the old teachers out of their rut, to 
attract them to the new problems, to rouse their interest 
in new methods of education, and in such problems as re- 

But we are not doing the main thing. We are not doing 
anything — or doing far from enough — to raise the school- 
teacher to the level that is absolutely essential if we want 
any culture at all, proletarian or even bourgeois. We must 
bear in mind the semi-Asiatic ignorance from which we 
have not yet extricated ourselves, and from which we 
cannot extricate ourselves without strenuous effort — although 
we have every opportunity to do so, because nowhere 
are the masses of the people so interested in real culture 
as they are in our country; nowhere are the problems of 
this culture tackled so thoroughly and consistently as 
they are in our country; in no other country is state power 
in the hands of the working class which, in its mass, is 
fully aware of the deficiencies, I shall not say of its culture, 
but of its literacy; nowhere is the working class so ready 
to make, and nowhere is it actually making, such sacri- 
fices to improve its position in this respect as in our country. 

Too little, far too little, is still being done by us to adjust 
our state budget to satisfy, as a first measure, the require- 
ments of elementary public education. Even in our People's 
Commissariat of Education we all too often find dis- 
gracefully inflated staffs in some state publishing establish- 



ment, which is contrary to the concept that the state's 
first concern should not be publishing houses but that 
there should be people to read, that the number of 
people able to read is greater, so that book publishing 
should have a wider political field in future Russia. Owing 
to the old (and bad) habit, we are still devoting much more 
time and effort to technical questions, such as the question 
of book publishing, than to the general political question 
of literacy among the people. 

If we take the Central Vocational Education Board, 
we are sure that there, too, we shall find far too much that 
is superfluous and inflated by departmental interests, 
much that is ill-adjusted to the requirements of broad 
public education. Far from everything that we find in 
the Central Vocational Education Board can be justified 
by the legitimate desire first of all to improve and give 
a practical slant to the education of our young factory 
workers. If we examine the staff of the Central Vocational 
Education Board carefully we shall find very much that 
is inflated and is in that respect fictitious and should be 
done away with. There is still very much in the proletarian 
and peasant state that can and must be economised for 
the purpose of promoting literacy among the people; this 
can be done by closing institutions which are playthings 
of a semi-aristocratic type, or institutions we can still do 
without and will be able to do without, and shall have 
to do without, for a long time to come, considering the 
state of literacy among the people as revealed by the sta- 

Our schoolteacher should be raised to a standard he 
has never achieved, and cannot achieve, in bourgeois 
society. This is a truism and requires no proof. We must 
strive for this state of affairs by working steadily, method- 
ically and persistently to raise the teacher to a higher 
cultural level, to train him thoroughly for his really high 
calling and — mainly, mainly and mainly — to improve his 
position materially. 

We must systematically step up our efforts to organise 
the schoolteachers so as to transform them from the bul- 
wark of the bourgeois system that they still are in all capi- 
talist countries without exception, into the bulwark of 



the Soviet system, in order, through their agency, to divert 
the peasantry from alliance with the bourgeoisie and to 
bring them into alliance with the proletariat. 

I want briefly to emphasise the special importance in 
this respect of regular visits to the villages; such visits, 
it is true, are already being practised and should be regu- 
larly promoted. We should not stint money — which we 
all too often waste on the machinery of state that is almost 
entirely a product of the past historical epoch — on measures 
like these visits to the villages. 

For the speech I was to have delivered at the Congress 
of Soviets in December 1922 I collected data on the patron- 
age undertaken by urban workers over villagers. Part of 
these data was obtained for me by Comrade Khodorovsky, 
and since I have been unable to deal with this problem and 
give it publicity through the Congress, I submit the matter 
to the comrades for discussion now. 

Here we have a fundamental political question — the 
relations between town and country — which is of decisive 
importance for the whole of our revolution. While the 
bourgeois state methodically concentrates all its efforts 
on doping the urban workers, adapting all the literature 
published at state expense and at the expense of the tsarist 
and bourgeois parties for this purpose, we can and must 
utilise our political power to make the urban worker an 
effective vehicle of communist ideas among the rural pro- 

I said "communist", but I hasten to make a reservation 
for fear of causing a misunderstanding, or of being taken 
too literally. Under no circumstances must this be under- 
stood to mean that we should immediately propagate 
purely and strictly communist ideas in the countryside. 
As long as our countryside lacks the material basis for 
communism, it will be, I should say, harmful, in fact, 
I should say, fatal, for communism to do so. 

That is a fact. We must start by establishing contacts 
between town and country without the preconceived aim 
of implanting communism in the rural districts. It is an 
aim which cannot be achieved at the present time. It is 
inopportune, and to set an aim like that at the present 
time would be harmful, instead of useful, to the cause. 

466 V. I. LENIN 

But it is our duty to establish contacts between the 
urban workers and the rural working people, to establish 
between them a form of comradeship which can easily be 
created. This is one of the fundamental tasks of the working 
class which holds power. To achieve this we must form 
a number of associations (Party, trade union and private) 
of factory workers, which would devote themselves regu- 
larly to assisting the villages in their cultural development. 

Is it possible to "attach" all the urban groups to all 
the village groups, so that every working-class group may 
take advantage regularly of every opportunity, of every 
occasion to serve the cultural needs of the village group it 
is "attached" to? Or will it be possible to find other forms 
of contact? I here confine myself solely to formulating the 
question in order to draw the comrades' attention to it, 
to point out the available experience of Western Siberia 
(to which Comrade Khodorovsky drew my attention) and 
to present this gigantic, historic cultural task in all its 

We are doing almost nothing for the rural districts out- 
side our official budget or outside official channels. True, in our 
in our country the nature of the cultural relations between 
town and village is automatically and inevitably changing. 
Under capitalism the town introduced political, economic, 
moral, physical, etc., corruption into the countryside. In 
our case, towns are automatically beginning to introduce 
the very opposite of this into the countryside. But, I repeat, 
all this is going on automatically, spontaneously, and can 
be improved (and later increased a hundredfold) by doing 
it consciously, methodically and systematically. 

We shall begin to advance (and shall then surely advance 
a hundred times more quickly) only after we have studied 
the question, after we have formed all sorts of workers' 
organisations — doing everything to prevent them from 
becoming bureaucratic — to take up the matter, discuss it 
and get things done. 

January 2, 1923 

Pravda No. 2, 
January 4, 1923 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according to 
the Pravda text 
checked with 
the stenographer's notes 




It seems to me that not enough attention is being paid 
to the co-operative movement in our country. Not every- 
one understands that now, since the time of the October 
Revolution and quite apart from NEP (on the contrary, in 
this connection we must say — because of NEP), our co- 
operative movement has become one of great significance. 
There is a lot of fantasy in the dreams of the old co-opera- 
tors. Often they are ridiculously fantastic. But why are 
they fantastic? Because people do not understand the 
fundamental, the rock-bottom significance of the working- 
class political struggle for the overthrow of the rule of 
the exploiters. We have overthrown the rule of the exploit- 
ers, and much that was fantastic, even romantic, even 
banal in the dreams of the old co-operators is now becom- 
ing unvarnished reality. 

Indeed, since political power is in the hands of the work- 
ing class, since this political power owns all the means of 
production, the only task, indeed, that remains for us is 
to organise the population in co-operative societies. With 
most of the population organised in co-operatives, the social- 
ism which in the past was legitimately treated with ridi- 
cule, scorn and contempt by those who were rightly con- 
vinced that it was necessary to wage the class struggle, 
the struggle for political power, etc., will achieve its aim 
automatically. But not all comrades realise how vastly, 
how infinitely important it is now to organise the popula- 
tion of Russia in co-operative societies. By adopting NEP 
we made a concession to the peasant as a trader, to the 



principle of private trade; it is precisely for this reason 
(contrary to what some people think) that the co-operative 
movement is of such immense importance. All we actually 
need under NEP is to organise the population of Russia in 
co-operative societies on a sufficiently large scale, for we 
have now found that degree of combination of private 
interest, of private commercial interest, with state super- 
vision and control of this interest, that degree of its subor- 
dination to the common interests which was formerly 
the stumbling-block for very many socialists. Indeed, 
the power of the state over all large-scale means of produc- 
tion, political power in the hands of the proletariat, the 
alliance of this proletariat with the many millions of small 
and very small peasants, the assured proletarian leader- 
ship of the peasantry, etc. — is this not all that is neces- 
sary to build a complete socialist society out of co-opera- 
tives, out of co-operatives alone, which we formerly 
ridiculed as huckstering and which from a certain aspect we 
have the right to treat as such now, under NEP? Is this 
not all that is necessary to build a complete socialist society? 
It is still not the building of socialist society, but it is 
all that is necessary and sufficient for it. 

It is this very circumstance that is underestimated by 
many of our practical workers. They look down upon our 
co-operative societies, failing to appreciate their excep- 
tional importance, first, from the standpoint of principle 
(the means of production are owned by the state), and, 
second, from the standpoint of transition to the new system 
by means that are the simplest, easiest and most acceptable 
to the peasant. 

But this again is of fundamental importance. It is one 
thing to draw up fantastic plans for building socialism 
through all sorts of workers' associations, and quite another 
to learn to build socialism in practice in such a way that 
every small peasant could take part in it. That is the very 
stage we have now reached. And there is no doubt that, 
having reached it, we are taking too little advantage of it. 

We went too far when we introduced NEP, but not 
because we attached too much importance to the princi- 
ple of free enterprise and trade — we went too far because 
we lost sight of the co-operatives, because we now under- 



rate the co-operatives, because we are already beginning 
to forget the vast importance of the co-operatives from 
the above two points of view. 

I now propose to discuss with the reader what can and 
must at once be done practically on the basis of this "co- 
operative" principle. By what means can we, and must 
we, start at once to develop this "co-operative" principle 
so that its socialist meaning may be clear to all? 

Co-operation must be politically so organised that it 
will not only generally and always enjoy certain privileges, 
but that these privileges should be of a purely material 
nature (a favourable bank-rate, etc.). The co-operatives 
must be granted state loans that are greater, if only by 
a little, than the loans we grant to private enterprises, 
even to heavy industry, etc. 

A social system emerges only if it has the financial back- 
ing of a definite class. There is no need to mention the 
hundreds of millions of rubles that the birth of "free" 
capitalism cost. At present we have to realise that the 
co-operative system is the social system we must now 
give more than ordinary assistance, and we must actually 
give that assistance. But it must be assistance in the real 
sense of the word, i.e., it will not be enough to interpret 
it to mean assistance for any kind of co-operative trade; 
by assistance we must mean aid to co-operative trade in 
which really large classes of the population actually take 
part. It is certainly a correct form of assistance to give 
a bonus to peasants who take part in co-operative trade; 
but the whole point is to verify the nature of this partici- 
pation, to verify the awareness behind it, and to verify its 
quality. Strictly speaking, when a co-operator goes to 
a village and opens a co-operative store, the people take 
no part in this whatever; but at the same time guided by 
their own interests they will hasten to try to take part 
in it. 

There is another aspect to this question. From the point 
of view of the "enlightened" (primarily, literate) European 
there is not much left for us to do to induce absolutely 
everyone to take not a passive, but an active part in co- 
operative operations. Strictly speaking, there is "orc/z/" 
one thing we have left to do and that is to make our people 



so "enlightened" that they understand all the advantages 
of everybody participating in the work of the co-operatives, 
and organise this participation. "Only" that. There are 
now no other devices needed to advance to socialism. But 
to achieve this "only", there must be a veritable revolu- 
tion — the entire people must go through a period of cul- 
tural development. Therefore, our rule must be: as little 
philosophising and as few acrobatics as possible. In this 
respect NEP is an advance, because it is adjustable to the 
level of the most ordinary peasant and does not demand 
anything higher of him. But it will take a whole histori- 
cal epoch to get the entire population into the work of 
the co-operatives through NEP. At best we can achieve 
this in one or two decades. Nevertheless, it will be a dis- 
tinct historical epoch, and without this historical epoch, 
without universal literacy, without a proper degree of 
efficiency, without training the population sufficiently 
to acquire the habit of book-reading, and without the 
material basis for this, without a certain sufficiency to 
safeguard against, say, bad harvests, famine, etc. — without 
this we shall not achieve our object. The thing now is to 
learn to combine the wide revolutionary range of action, 
the revolutionary enthusiasm which we have displayed, 
and displayed abundantly, and crowned with complete 
success — to learn to combine this with (I am almost inclined 
to say) the ability to be an efficient and capable trader, 
which is quite enough to be a good co-operator. By ability 
to be a trader I mean the ability to be a cultured trader. 
Let those Russians, or peasants, who imagine that since 
they trade they are good traders, get that well into their 
heads. This does not follow at all. They do trade, but that 
is far from being cultured traders. They now trade in an 
Asiatic manner, but to be a good trader one must trade in 
the European manner. They are a whole epoch behind in 

In conclusion: a number of economic, financial and 
banking privileges must be granted to the co-operatives — 
this is the way our socialist state must promote the new 
principle on which the population must be organised. 
But this is only the general outline of the task; it does not 
define and depict in detail the entire content of the practi- 



cal task, i.e., we must find what form of "bonus" to give 
for joining the co-operatives (and the terms on which we 
should give it), the form of bonus by which we shall assist 
the co-operatives sufficiently, the form of bonus that will 
produce the civilised co-operator. And given social owner- 
ship of the means of production, given the class victory 
of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, the system of civi- 
lised co-operators is the system of socialism. 

January 4, 1923 




Whenever I wrote about the New Economic Policy I 
always quoted the article on state capitalism 158 which I 
wrote in 1918. This has more than once aroused doubts 
in the minds of certain young comrades. But their doubts 
were mainly on abstract political points. 

It seemed to them that the term "state capitalism" 
could not be applied to a system under which the means 
of production were owned by the working class, a working 
class that held political power. They did not notice, how- 
ever, that I used the term "state capitalism", firstly, to 
connect historically our present position with the position 
adopted in my controversy with the so-called Left Commu- 
nists; also, I argued at the time that state capitalism would 
be superior to our existing economy. It was important for 
me to show the continuity between ordinary state capi- 
talism and the unusual, even very unusual, state capital- 
ism to which I referred in introducing the reader to the 
New Economic Policy. Secondly, the practical purpose 
was always important to me. And the practical purpose 
of our New Economic Policy was to lease out concessions. 
In the prevailing circumstances, concessions in our country 
would unquestionably have been a pure type of state capi- 
talism. That is how I argued about state capitalism. 

But there is another aspect of the matter for which we 
may need state capitalism, or at least a comparison with 
it. It is the question of co-operatives. 

In the capitalist state, co-operatives are no doubt col- 
lective capitalist institutions. Nor is there any doubt 
that under our present economic conditions, when we 



combine private capitalist enterprises — but in no other 
way than on nationalised land and in no other way than 
under the control of the working-class state — with enter- 
prises of a consistently socialist type (the means of pro- 
duction, the land on which the enterprises are situated, 
and the enterprises as a whole belonging to the state), the 
question arises about a third type of enterprise, the co- 
operatives, which were not formerly regarded as an inde- 
pendent type differing fundamentally from the others. 
Under private capitalism, co-operative enterprises differ 
from capitalist enterprises as collective enterprises differ 
from private enterprises. Under state capitalism, co-opera- 
tive enterprises differ from state capitalist enterprises, 
firstly, because they are private enterprises, and, secondly, 
because they are collective enterprises. Under our present 
system, co-operative enterprises differ from private capi- 
talist enterprises because they are collective enterprises, 
but do not differ from socialist enterprises if the land on 
which they are situated and the means of production belong 
to the state, i.e., the working class. 

This circumstance is not considered sufficiently when 
co-operatives are discussed. It is forgotten that owing to 
the special features of our political system, our co-opera- 
tives acquire an altogether exceptional significance. If we 
exclude concessions, which, incidentally, have not devel- 
oped on any considerable scale, co-operation under our 
conditions nearly always coincides fully with socialism. 

Let me explain what I mean. Why were the plans of 
the old co-operators, from Robert Owen onwards, fantastic? 
Because they dreamed of peacefully remodelling contem- 
porary society into socialism without taking account of 
such fundamental questions as the class struggle, the cap- 
ture of political power by the working class, the over- 
throw of the rule of the exploiting class. That is why we are 
right in regarding as entirely fantastic this "co-operative" 
socialism, and as romantic, and even banal, the dream of 
transforming class enemies into class collaborators and 
class war into class peace (so-called class truce) by merely 
organising the population in co-operative societies. 

Undoubtedly we were right from the point of view of 
the fundamental task of the present day, for socialism 



cannot be established without a class struggle for political 
power in the state. 

But see how things have changed now that political 
power is in the hands of the working class, now that the 
political power of the exploiters is overthrown and all 
the means of production (except those which the workers' 
state voluntarily abandons on specified terms and for a 
certain time to the exploiters in the form of concessions) are 
owned by the working class. 

Now we are entitled to say that for us the mere growth 
of co-operation (with the "slight" exception mentioned 
above) is identical with the growth of socialism, and at 
the same time we have to admit that there has been a radical 
modification in our whole outlook on socialism. The radical 
modification is this; formerly we placed, and had to place, 
the main emphasis on the political struggle, on revolution, 
on winning political power, etc. Now the emphasis is chang- 
ing and shifting to peaceful, organisational, "cultural" 
work. I should say that emphasis is shifting to educational 
work, were it not for our international relations, were it 
not for the fact that we have to fight for our position on a 
world scale. If we leave that aside, however, and confine 
ourselves to internal economic relations, the emphasis in 
our work is certainly shifting to education. 

Two main tasks confront us, which constitute the epoch — 
to reorganise our machinery of state, which is utterly 
useless, and which we took over in its entirety from the 
preceding epoch; during the past five years of struggle we 
did not, and could not, drastically reorganise it. Our second 
task is educational work among the peasants. And the 
economic object of this educational work among the peas- 
ants is to organise the latter in co-operative societies. 
If the whole of the peasantry had been organised in co-oper- 
atives, we would by now have been standing with both 
feet on the soil of socialism. But the organisation of the 
entire peasantry in co-operative societies presupposes a 
standard of culture among the peasants (precisely among 
the peasants as the overwhelming mass) that cannot, in 
fact, be achieved without a cultural revolution. 

Our opponents told us repeatedly that we were rash 
in undertaking to implant socialism in an insufficiently 



cultured country. But they were misled by our having 
started from the opposite end to that prescribed by theory 
(the theory of pedants of all kinds), because in our country 
the political and social revolution preceded the cultural 
revolution, that very cultural revolution which neverthe- 
less now confronts us. 

This cultural revolution would now suffice to make our 
country a completely socialist country; but it presents 
immense difficulties of a purely cultural (for we are illit- 
erate) and material character (for to be cultured we must 
achieve a certain development of the material means of 
production, must have a certain material base). 

January 6, 1923 

First published in Pravda Published according to 

Nos. 115 and 116, the Pravda text 

May 26 and 27, 1923 checked with 

Signed: N. Lenin the stenographer's notes 




I have lately been glancing through Sukhanov's notes 
on the revolution. What strikes one most is the pedantry 
of all our petty-bourgeois democrats and of all the heroes 
of the Second International. Apart from the fact that they 
are all extremely faint-hearted, that when it comes to the 
minutest deviation from the German model even the best 
of them fortify themselves with reservations — apart from 
this characteristic, which is common to all petty-bourgeois 
democrats and has been abundantly manifested by them 
throughout the revolution, what strikes one is their slavish 
imitation of the past. 

They all call themselves Marxists, but their conception 
of Marxism is impossibly pedantic. They have completely 
failed to understand what is decisive in Marxism, namely, 
its revolutionary dialectics. They have even absolutely 
failed to understand Marx's plain statements that in times 
of revolution the utmost flexibility 159 is demanded, and have 
even failed to notice, for instance, the statements Marx 
made in his letters — I think it was in 1856 — expressing 
the hope of combining a peasant war in Germany, which 
might create a revolutionary situation, with the working- 
class movement 160 — they avoid even this plain statement and 
walk round and about it like a cat around a bowl of hot 

Their conduct betrays them as cowardly reformists who 
are afraid to deviate from the bourgeoisie, let alone break 
with it, and at the same time they disguise their coward- 



ice with the wildest rhetoric and braggartry. But what 
strikes one in all of them even from the purely theoretical 
point of view is their utter inability to grasp the following 
Marxist considerations: up to now they have seen capital- 
ism and bourgeois democracy in Western Europe follow 
a definite path of development, and cannot conceive that 
this path can be taken as a model only mutatis mutandis , 
only with certain amendments (quite insignificant from 
the standpoint of the general development of world 

First — the revolution connected with the first impe- 
rialist world war. Such a revolution was bound to reveal 
new features, or variations, resulting from the war itself, 
for the world has never seen such a war in such a situation. 
We find that since the war the bourgeoisie of the wealthiest 
countries have to this day been unable to restore "normal" 
bourgeois relations. Yet our reformists — petty bourgeois 
who make a show of being revolutionaries — believed, and 
still believe, that normal bourgeois relations are the limit 
(thus far shalt thou go and no farther). And even their 
conception of "normal" is extremely stereotyped and 

Secondly, they are complete strangers to the idea that 
while the development of world history as a whole follows 
general laws it is by no means precluded, but, on the con- 
trary, presumed, that certain periods of development may 
display peculiarities in either the form or the sequence 
of this development. For instance, it does not even occur 
to them that because Russia stands on the border-line 
between the civilised countries and the countries which 
this war has for the first time definitely brought into the 
orbit of civilisation — all the Oriental, non-European coun- 
tries — she could and was, indeed, bound to reveal certain 
distinguishing features; although these, of course, are in 
keeping with the general line of world development, they 
distinguish her revolution from those which took place in 
the West-European countries and introduce certain partial 
innovations as the revolution moves on to the countries 
of the East. 

Infinitely stereotyped, for instance, is the argument 
they learned by rote during the development of West- 



European Social-Democracy, namely, that we are not yet ripe 
for socialism, that, as certain "learned" gentlemen among 
them put it, the objective economic premises for socialism 
do not exist in our country. It does not occur to any of them 
to ask: but what about a people that found itself in a revo- 
lutionary situation such as that created during the first 
imperialist war? Might it not, influenced by the hopeless- 
ness of its situation, fling itself into a struggle that would 
offer it at least some chance of securing conditions for the 
further development of civilisation that were somewhat 

"The development of the productive forces of Russia has 
not attained the level that makes socialism possible." All 
the heroes of the Second International, including, of course, 
Sukhanov, beat the drums about this proposition. They 
keep harping on this incontrovertible proposition in a thou- 
sand different keys, and think that it is the decisive crite- 
rion of our revolution. 

But what if the situation, which drew Russia into the 
imperialist world war that involved every more or less 
influential West-European country and made her a wit- 
ness of the eve of the revolutions maturing or partly 
already begun in the East, gave rise to circumstances that 
put Russia and her development in a position which 
enabled us to achieve precisely that combination of a "peas- 
ant war" with the working-class movement suggested in 
1856 by no less a Marxist than Marx himself as a possible 
prospect for Prussia? 

What if the complete hopelessness of the situation, by 
stimulating the efforts of the workers and peasants tenfold, 
offered us the opportunity to create the fundamental 
requisites of civilisation in a different way from that of the 
West-European countries? Has that altered the general 
line of development of world history? Has that altered the 
basic relations between the basic classes of all the countries 
that are being, or have been, drawn into the general course 
of world history? 

If a definite level of culture is required for the building of 
socialism (although nobody can say just what that definite 
"level of culture" is, for it differs in every West-European 
country), why cannot we begin by first achieving the 



prerequisites for that definite level of culture in a revolu- 
tionary way, and then, with the aid of the workers' and 
peasants' government and the Soviet system, proceed to 
overtake the other nations? 

January 16, 1923 




You say that civilisation is necessary for the building 
of socialism. Very good. But why could we not first create 
such prerequisites of civilisation in our country as the 
expulsion of the landowners and the Russian capitalists, 
and then start moving towards socialism? Where, in what 
books, have you read that such variations of the customary 
historical sequence of events are impermissible or impos- 

Napoleon, I think, wrote: "Orc s'engage et puis ... on 
voit." Rendered freely this means: "First engage in a se- 
rious battle and then see what happens." Well, we did 
first engage in a serious battle in October 1917, and then 
saw such details of development (from the standpoint of 
world history they were certainly details) as the Brest peace, 
the New Economic Policy, and so forth. And now there 
can be no doubt that in the main we have been victorious. 

Our Sukhanovs, not to mention Social-Democrats still 
farther to the right, never even dream that revolutions 
could be made otherwise. Our European philistines never 
even dream that the subsequent revolutions in Oriental 
countries, which possess much vaster populations and a 
much vaster diversity of social conditions, will undoubtedly 
display even greater distinctions than the Russian revolu- 

It need hardly be said that a textbook written on Kaut- 
skian lines was a very useful thing in its day. But it is time, 
for all that, to abandon the idea that it foresaw all the forms 
of development of subsequent world history. It would be 
timely to say that those who think so are simply fools. 

January 17, 1923 

First published 
in Pravda No. 117, 
May 30, 1923 
Signed: Lenin 

Published according to the news- 
paper text, with additional cor- 
rections in the stenographer's 
notes on Lenin's instruction 




It is beyond question that the Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection is an enormous difficulty for us, and that so 
far this difficulty has not been overcome. I think that 
the comrades who try to overcome the difficulty by denying 
that the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection is useful and 
necessary are wrong. But I do not deny that the problem 
presented by our state apparatus and the task of improving 
it is very difficult, that it is far from being solved, and 
is an extremely urgent one. 

With the exception of the People's Commissariat of 
Foreign Affairs, our state apparatus is to a considerable 
extent a survival of the past and has undergone hardly any 
serious change. It has only been slightly touched up on 
the surface, but in all other respects it is a most typical 
relic of our old state machine. And so, to find a method of 
really renovating it, I think we ought to turn for experience 
to our Civil War. 

How did we act in the more critical moments of the Civil 

We concentrated our best Party forces in the Red Army; 
we mobilised the best of our workers; we looked for new 
forces at the deepest roots of our dictatorship. 

I am convinced that we must go to the same source to 
find the means of reorganising the Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection. I recommend that our Twelfth Party Congress 
adopt the following plan of reorganisation, based on some 
enlargement of our Central Control Commission. 

The Plenary Meetings of the Central Committee of our 
Party are already revealing a tendency to develop into a 



kind of supreme Party conference. They take place, on the 
average, not more than once in two months, while the rou- 
tine work is conducted, as we know, on behalf of the Central 
Committee by our Political Bureau, our Organising Bureau, 
our Secretariat, and so forth. I think we ought to follow 
the road we have thus taken to the end and definitely trans- 
form the Plenary Meetings of the Central Committee into 
supreme Party conferences convened once in two months 
jointly with the Central Control Commission. The Central 
Control Commission should be amalgamated with the main 
body of the reorganised Workers' and Peasants' Inspection 
on the following lines. 

I propose that the Congress should elect 75 to 100 new 
members to the Central Control Commission. They should 
be workers and peasants, and should go through the same 
Party screening as ordinary members of the Central Com- 
mittee, because they are to enjoy the same rights as the 
members of the Central Committee. 

On the other hand, the staff of the Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection should be reduced to three or four hundred 
persons, specially screened for conscientiousness and 
knowledge of our state apparatus. They must also undergo 
a special test as regards their knowledge of the principles 
of scientific organisation of labour in general, and of 
administrative work, office work, and so forth, in par- 

In my opinion, such an amalgamation of the Workers' 
and Peasants' Inspection with the Central Control Commis- 
sion will be beneficial to both these institutions. On the one 
hand, the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection will thus 
obtain such high authority that it will certainly not be 
inferior to the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs. 
On the other hand, our Central Committee, together with 
the Central Control Commission, will definitely take the 
road of becoming a supreme Party conference, which in 
fact it has already taken, and along which it should proceed 
to the end so as to be able to fulfil its functions properly 
in two respects: in respect to its own methodical, expedient 
and systematic organisation and work, and in respect to 
maintaining contacts with the broad masses through the 
medium of the best of our workers and peasants. 


I foresee an objection that, directly or indirectly, may 
come from those spheres which make our state apparatus 
antiquated, i.e., from those who urge that its present 
utterly impossible, indecently pre-revolutionary form be 
preserved (incidentally, we now have an opportunity which 
rarely occurs in history of ascertaining the period necessary 
for bringing about radical social changes; we now see clearly 
what can be done in five years, and what requires much 
more time). 

The objection I foresee is that the change I propose will 
lead to nothing but chaos. The members of the Central 
Control Commission will wander around all the institutions, 
not knowing where, why or to whom to apply, causing 
disorganisation everywhere and distracting employees from 
their routine work, etc., etc. 

I think that the malicious source of this objection is 
so obvious that it does not warrant a reply. It goes without 
saying that the Presidium of the Central Control Commis- 
sion, the People's Commissar of the Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection and his collegium (and also, in the proper cases, 
the Secretariat of our Central Committee) will have to put 
in years of persistent effort to get the Commissariat 
properly organised, and to get it to function smoothly in 
conjunction with the Central Control Commission. In my 
opinion, the People's Commissar of the Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection, as well as the whole collegium, can (and 
should) remain and guide the work of the entire Workers' 
and Peasants' Inspection, including the work of all the 
members of the Central Control Commission who will be 
"placed under his command". The three or four hundred 
employees of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection that 
are to remain, according to my plan, should, on the one hand, 
perform purely secretarial functions for the other members 
of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection and for the sup- 
plementary members of the Central Control Commission; 
and, on the other hand, they should be highly skilled, spe- 
cially screened, particularly reliable, and highly paid, so 
that they may be relieved of their present truly unhappy 
(to say the least) position of Workers' and Peasants' Inspec- 
tion officials. 

I am sure that the reduction of the staff to the number 



I have indicated will greatly enhance the efficiency of the 
Workers' and Peasants' Inspection personnel and the quali- 
ty of all its work, enabling the People's Commissar and 
the members of the collegium to concentrate their efforts 
entirely on organising work and on systematically and 
steadily improving its efficiency, which is so absolutely 
essential for our workers' and peasants' government, and 
for our Soviet system. 

On the other hand, I also think that the People's Com- 
missar of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection should 
work on partly amalgamating and partly co-ordinating those 
higher institutions for the organisation of labour (the Central 
Institute of Labour, the Institute for the Scientific Organi- 
sation of Labour, etc.), of which there are now no fewer 
than twelve in our Republic. Excessive uniformity and 
a consequent desire to amalgamate will be harmful. On the 
contrary, what is needed here is a reasonable and expedient 
mean between amalgamating all these institutions and 
properly delimiting them, allowing for a certain indepen- 
dence for each of them. 

Our own Central Committee will undoubtedly gain no 
less from this reorganisation than the Workers' and Peas- 
ants' Inspection. It will gain because its contacts with 
the masses will be greater and because the regularity and 
effectiveness of its work will improve. It will then be pos- 
sible (and necessary) to institute a stricter and more re- 
sponsible procedure of preparing for the meetings of the 
Political Bureau, which should be attended by a definite 
number of members of the Central Control Commission 
determined either for a definite period or by some organi- 
sational plan. 

In distributing work to the members of the Central Con- 
trol Commission, the People's Commissar of the Workers' 
and Peasants' Inspection, in conjunction with the Presid- 
ium of the Central Control Commission, should impose on 
them the duty either of attending the meetings of the Polit- 
ical Bureau for the purpose of examining all the docu- 
ments appertaining to matters that come before it in one 
way or another; or of devoting their working time to theo- 
retical study, to the study of scientific methods of organising 
labour; or of taking a practical part in the work of super- 


vising and improving our machinery of state, from the 
higher state institutions to the lower local bodies, etc. 

I also think that in addition to the political advantages 
accruing from the fact that the members of the Central 
Committee and the Central Control Commission will, as 
a consequence of this reform, be much better informed 
and better prepared for the meetings of the Political Bureau 
(all the documents relevant to the business to be discussed 
at these meetings should be sent to all the members of the 
Central Committee and the Central Control Commission not 
later than the day before the meeting of the Political Bureau, 
except in absolutely urgent cases, for which special 
methods of informing the members of the Central Committee 
and the Central Control Commission and of settling these 
matters must be devised), there will also be the advantage 
that the influence of purely personal and incidental factors 
in our Central Committee will diminish, and this will 
reduce the danger of a split. 

Our Central Committee has grown into a strictly central- 
ised and highly authoritative group, but the conditions 
under which this group is working are not commensurate 
with its authority. The reform I recommend should help 
to remove this defect, and the members of the Central Con- 
trol Commission, whose duty it will be to attend all meet- 
ings of the Political Bureau in a definite number, will have 
to form a compact group which should not allow anybody's 
authority without exception, neither that of the General 
Secretary nor of any other member of the Central Commit- 
tee, to prevent them from putting questions, verifying 
documents, and, in general, from keeping themselves fully 
informed of all things and from exercising the strictest 
control over the proper conduct of affairs. 

Of course, in our Soviet Republic, the social order is 
based on the collaboration of two classes: the workers and 
peasants, in which the "Nepmen", i.e., the bourgeoisie, are 
now permitted to participate on certain terms. If serious 
class disagreements arise between these classes, a split 
will be inevitable. But the grounds for such a split are 
not inevitable in our social system, and it is the principal 
task of our Central Committee and Central Control Com- 
mission, as well as of our Party as a whole, to watch very 



closely over such circumstances as may cause a split, and to 
forestall them, for in the final analysis the fate of our 
Republic will depend on whether the peasant masses 
will stand by the working class, loyal to their alliance, or 
whether they will permit the "Nepmen", i.e., the new bour- 
geoisie, to drive a wedge between them and the working class, 
to split them off from the working class. The more clearly 
we see this alternative, the more clearly all our workers 
and peasants understand it, the greater are the chances 
that we shall avoid a split, which would be fatal for the 
Soviet Republic. 

January 23, 1923 

Pravda, No. 16, Published according to the ste- 

January 25, 1923 
Signed: N. Lenin 

nographer's notes (typewritte 
copy) checked with the text 
in the newspaper 




In the matter of improving our state apparatus, the 
Workers' and Peasants' Inspection should not, in my opin- 
ion, either strive after quantity or hurry. We have so far 
been able to devote so little thought and attention to the 
efficiency of our state apparatus that it would now be quite 
legitimate if we took special care to secure its thorough 
organisation, and concentrated in the Workers' and Peas- 
ants' Inspection a staff of workers really abreast of the 
times, i.e., not inferior to the best West-European stand- 
ards. For a socialist republic this condition is, of course, 
too modest. But our experience of the first five years has 
fairly crammed our heads with mistrust and scepticism. 
These qualities assert themselves involuntarily when, for 
example, we hear people dilating at too great length and too 
flippantly on "proletarian" culture. For a start, we should be 
satisfied with real bourgeois culture; for a start, we should 
be glad to dispense with the cruder types of pre-bourgeois 
culture, i.e., bureaucratic culture or serf culture, etc. 
In matters of culture, haste and sweeping measures are 
most harmful. Many of our young writers and Communists 
should get this well into their heads. 

Thus, in the matter of our state apparatus we should 
now draw the conclusion from our past experience that it 
would be better to proceed more slowly. 

Our state apparatus is so deplorable, not to say wretched, 
that we must first think very carefully how to combat its 
defects, bearing in mind that these defects are rooted in the 
past, which, although it has been overthrown, has not yet 
been overcome, has not yet reached the stage of a culture 
that has receded into the distant past. I say culture 
deliberately, because in these matters we can only regard 



as achieved what has become part and parcel of our culture, 
of our social life, our habits. We might say that the good in 
our social system has not been properly studied, understood, 
and taken to heart; it has been hastily grasped at; it has 
not been verified or tested, corroborated by experience, 
and not made durable, etc. Of course, it could not be other- 
wise in a revolutionary epoch, when development proceeded 
at such breakneck speed that in a matter of five years we 
passed from tsarism to the Soviet system. 

It is time we did something about it. We must show 
sound scepticism for too rapid progress, for boastfulness, 
etc. We must give thought to testing the steps forward we 
proclaim every hour, take every minute and then prove 
every second that they are flimsy, superficial and misun- 
derstood. The most harmful thing here would be haste. 
The most harmful thing would be to rely on the assumption 
that we know at least something, or that we have any con- 
siderable number of elements necessary for the building of 
a really new state apparatus, one really worthy to be called 
socialist, Soviet, etc. 

No, we are ridiculously deficient of such an apparatus, 
and even of the elements of it, and we must remember that 
we should not stint time on building it, and that it will 
take many, many years. 

What elements have we for building this apparatus? Only 
two. First, the workers who are absorbed in the struggle for 
socialism. These elements are not sufficiently educated. 
They would like to build a better apparatus for us, but they 
do not know how. They cannot build one. They have not 
yet developed the culture required for this; and it is cul- 
ture that is required. Nothing will be achieved in this 
by doing things in a rush, by assault, by vim or vigour, or 
in general, by any of the best human qualities. Secondly, 
we have elements of knowledge, education and training, 
but they are ridiculously inadequate compared with all other 

Here we must not forget that we are too prone to compen- 
sate (or imagine that we can compensate) our lack of knowl- 
edge by zeal, haste, etc. 

In order in renovate our state apparatus we must at all 
costs set out, first, to learn, secondly, to learn, and thirdly, 



to learn, and then see to it that learning shall not 
remain a dead letter, or a fashionable catch-phrase (and 
we should admit in all frankness that this happens very 
often with us), that learning shall really become part of 
our very being, that it shall actually and fully become a 
constituent element of our social life. In short, we must 
not make the demands that are made by bourgeois Western 
Europe, but demands that are fit and proper for a country 
which has set out to develop into a socialist country. 

The conclusions to be drawn from the above are the 
following: we must make the Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection a really exemplary institution, an instrument 
to improve our state apparatus. 

In order that it may attain the desired high level, we 
must follow the rule: Measure your cloth seven times before 
you cut." 

For this purpose, we must utilise the very best of what 
there is in our social system, and utilise it with the greatest 
caution, thoughtfulness and knowledge, to build up the 
new People's Commissariat. 

For this purpose, the best elements that we have in our 
social system — such as, first, the advanced workers, and, 
second, the really enlightened elements for whom we can 
vouch that they will not take the word for the deed, and 
will not utter a single word that goes against their con- 
science — should not shrink from admitting any difficulty 
and should not shrink from any struggle in order to achieve 
the object they have seriously set themselves. 

We have been bustling for five years trying to improve 
our state apparatus, but it has been mere bustle, which has 
proved useless in these five years, or even futile, or even 
harmful. This bustle created the impression that we were 
doing something, but in effect it was only clogging up our 
institutions and our brains. 

It is high time things were changed. 

We must follow the rule: Better fewer, but better. We 
must follow the rule: Better get good human material in 
two or even three years than work in haste without hope 
of getting any at all. 

I know that it will be hard to keep to this rule and apply 
it under our conditions. I know that the opposite rule will 



force its way through a thousand loopholes. I know that 
enormous resistance will have to be put up, that devilish 
persistence will be required, that in the first few years at 
least work in this field will be hellishly hard. Neverthe- 
less, I am convinced that only by such effort shall we be 
able to achieve our aim; and that only by achieving this 
aim shall we create a republic that is really worthy of the 
name of Soviet, socialist, and so on, and so forth. 

Many readers probably thought that the figures I quoted 
by way of illustration in my first article* were too small. 
I am sure that many calculations may be made to prove that 
they are. But I think that we must put one thing above all 
such and other calculations, i.e., our desire to obtain 
really exemplary quality. 

I think that the time has at last come when we must 
work in real earnest to improve our state apparatus and in 
this there can scarcely be anything more harmful than haste. 
That is why I would sound a strong warning against 
inflating the figures. In my opinion, we should, on the con- 
trary, be especially sparing with figures in this matter. Let 
us say frankly that the People's Commissariat of the Work- 
ers' and Peasants' Inspection does not at present enjoy 
the slightest authority. Everybody knows that no other 
institutions are worse organised than those of our Workers' 
and Peasants' Inspection, and that under present condi- 
tions nothing can be expected from this People's Commis- 
sariat. We must have this firmly fixed in our minds if we 
really want to create within a few years an institution 
that will, first, be an exemplary institution, secondly, win 
everybody's absolute confidence, and, thirdly, prove to 
all and sundry that we have really justified the work of 
such a highly placed institution as the Central Control 
Commission. In my opinion, we must immediately and 
irrevocably reject all general figures for the size of office 
staffs. We must select employees for the Workers' and 
Peasants' Inspection with particular care and only on the 
basis of the strictest test. Indeed, what is the use of estab- 
lishing a People's Commissariat which carries on anyhow, 
which does not enjoy the slightest confidence, and whose 

See pp. 481-86 of this volume.— Ed. 



word carries scarcely any weight? I think that our main 
object in launching the work of reconstruction that we now 
have in mind is to avoid all this. 

The workers whom we are enlisting as members of the 
Central Control Commission must be irreproachable Com- 
munists, and I think that a great deal has yet to be done 
to teach them the methods and objects of their work. Fur- 
thermore, there must be a definite number of secretaries 
to assist in this work, who must be put to a triple test 
before they are appointed to their posts. Lastly, the officials 
whom in exceptional cases we shall accept directly as 
employees of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection must 
conform to the following requirements: 

First, they must be recommended by several Communists. 

Second, they must pass a test for knowledge of our state 

Third, they must pass a test in the fundamentals of 
the theory of our state apparatus, in the fundamentals of 
management, office routine, etc. 

Fourth, they must work in such close harmony with the 
members of the Central Control Commission and with their 
own secretariat that we could vouch for the work of the 
whole apparatus. 

I know that these requirements are extraordinarily strict, 
and I am very much afraid that the majority of the "prac- 
tical" workers in the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection 
will say that these requirements are impracticable, or will 
scoff at them. But I ask any of the present chiefs of the 
Workers' and Peasants' Inspection, or anyone associated 
with that body, whether they can honestly tell me the prac- 
tical purpose of a People's Commissariat like the Workers' 
and Peasants' Inspection. I think this question will help 
them recover their sense of proportion. Either it is not worth 
while having another of the numerous reorganisations that 
we have had of this hopeless affair, the Workers' and 
Peasants' Inspection, or we must really set to work, by 
slow, difficult and unusual methods, and by testing these 
methods over and over again, to create something really 
exemplary, something that will win the respect of all 
and sundry for its merits, and not only because of its 
rank and title. 



If we do not arm ourselves with patience, if we do not 
devote several years to this task, we had better not tackle 
it at all. 

In my opinion we ought to select a minimum number of 
the higher labour research institutes, etc., which we have 
baked so hastily, see whether they are organised properly, 
and allow them to continue working, but only in a way that 
conforms to the high standards of modern science and gives 
us all its benefits. If we do that it will not be Utopian to 
hope that within a few years we shall have an institution 
that will be able to perform its functions, to work system- 
atically and steadily on improving our state apparatus, 
an institution backed by the trust of the working class, of 
the Russian Communist Party, and the whole population of our 

The spade-work for this could be begun at once. If the 
People's Commissariat of the Workers' and Peasants' 
Inspection accepted the present plan of reorganisation, 
it could now take preparatory steps and work methodically 
until the task is completed, without haste, and not hesi- 
tating to alter what has already been done. 

Any half-hearted solution would be extremely harmful in 
this matter. A measure for the size of the staff of the Workers' 
and Peasants' Inspection based on any other consideration 
would, in fact, be based on the old bureaucratic consider- 
ations, on old prejudices, on what has already been con- 
demned, universally ridiculed, etc. 

In substance, the matter is as follows: 

Either we prove now that we have really learned some- 
thing about state organisation (we ought to have learned 
something in five years), or we prove that we are not suf- 
ficiently mature for it. If the latter is the case, we had 
better not tackle the task. 

I think that with the available human material it will 
not be immodest to assume that we have learned enough 
to be able systematically to rebuild at least one People's 
Commissariat. True, this one People's Commissariat will 
have to be the model for our entire state apparatus. 

We ought at once to announce contest in the compila- 
tion of two or more textbooks on the organisation of 
labour in general, and on management in particular. We can 



take as a basis the book already published by Yerman- 
sky, although it should be said in parentheses that he 
obviously sympathises with Menshevism and is unfit to 
compile textbooks for the Soviet system. We can also take 
as a basis the recent book by Kerzhentsev, and some of the 
other partial textbooks available may be useful too. 

We ought to send several qualified and conscientious 
people to Germany, or to Britain, to collect literature and 
to study this question. I mention Britain in case it is found 
impossible to send people to the U.S.A. or Canada. 

We ought to appoint a commission to draw up the 
preliminary programme of examinations for prospective em- 
ployees of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection; ditto 
for candidates to the Central Control Commission. 

These and similar measures will not, of course, cause 
any difficulties for the People's Commissar or the colle- 
gium of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection, or for the 
Presidium of the Central Control Commission. 

Simultaneously, a preparatory commission should be 
appointed to select candidates for membership of the Central 
Control Commission. I hope that we shall now be able to 
find more than enough candidates for this post among the 
experienced workers in all departments, as well as among 
the students of our Soviet higher schools. It would hardly 
be right to exclude one or another category beforehand. 
Probably preference will have to be given to a mixed com- 
position for this institution, which should combine many 
qualities, and dissimilar merits. Consequently, the task of 
drawing up the list of candidates will entail a considerable 
amount of work. For example, it would be least desirable 
for the staff of the new People's Commissariat to consist of 
people of one type, only of officials, say, or for it to exclude 
people of the propagandist type, or people whose principal 
quality is sociability or the ability to penetrate into cir- 
cles that are not altogether customary for officials in this 
field, etc. 

* * 

I think I shall be able to express my idea best if I com- 
pare my plan with that of academic institutions. Under 
the guidance of their Presidium, the members of the Central 



Control Commission should systematically examine all the 
papers and documents of the Political Bureau. Moreover, 
they should divide their time correctly between various 
jobs in investigating the routine in our institutions, from 
the very small and privately-owned offices to the highest 
state institutions. And lastly, their functions should 
include the study of theory, i.e., the theory of organisation 
of the work they intend to devote themselves to, and prac- 
tical work under the guidance either of older comrades 
or of teachers in the higher institutes for the organisation 
of labour. 

I do not think, however, that they will be able to con- 
fine themselves to this sort of academic work. In addition, 
they will have to prepare themselves for work which I 
would not hesitate to call training to catch, I will not say 
rogues, but something like that, and working out special 
ruses to screen their movements, their approach, etc. 

If such proposals were made in West-European govern- 
ment institutions they would rouse frightful resentment, 
a feeling of moral indignation, etc.; but I trust that we 
have not become so bureaucratic as to be capable of that. 
NEP has not yet succeeded in gaining such respect as to 
cause any of us to be shocked at the idea that somebody 
may be caught. Our Soviet Republic is of such recent con- 
struction, and there are such heaps of the old lumber still 
lying around that it would hardly occur to anyone to be 
shocked at the idea that we should delve into them by 
means of ruses, by means of investigations sometimes 
directed to rather remote sources or in a roundabout way. 
And even if it did occur to anyone to be shocked by this, 
we may be sure that such a person would make himself a 

Let us hope that our new Workers' and Peasants' Inspec- 
tion will abandon what the French call pruderie, which 
we may call ridiculous primness, or ridiculous swank, and 
which plays entirely into the hands of our Soviet and Party 
bureaucracy. Let it be said in parentheses that we have 
bureaucrats in our Party offices as well as in Soviet 

When I said above that we must study and study hard in 
institutes for the higher organisation of labour, etc., I 



did not by any means imply "studying" in the schoolroom 
way, nor did I confine myself to the idea of studying only 
in the schoolroom way. I hope that not a single genuine 
revolutionary will suspect me of refusing, in this case, to 
understand "studies" to include resorting to some semi- 
humorous trick, cunning device, piece of trickery or some- 
thing of that sort. I know that in the staid and earnest 
states of Western Europe such an idea would horrify people 
and that not a single decent official would even entertain 
it. I hope, however, that we have not yet become as bureau- 
cratic as all that and that in our midst the discussion of this 
idea will give rise to nothing more than amusement. 

Indeed, why not combine pleasure with utility? Why 
not resort to some humorous or semi-humorous trick to 
expose something ridiculous, something harmful, something 
semi-ridiculous, semi-harmful, etc.? 

It seems to me that our Workers' and Peasants' Inspec- 
tion will gain a great deal if it undertakes to examine these 
ideas, and that the list of cases in which our Central Control 
Commission and its colleagues in the Workers' and Peas- 
ants' Inspection achieved a few of their most brilliant 
victories will be enriched by not a few exploits of our 
future Workers' and Peasants' Inspection and Central Con- 
trol Commission members in places not quite mentionable 
in prim and staid textbooks. 

* * 

How can a Party institution be amalgamated with a 
Soviet institution? Is there not something improper in this 

I do not ask these questions on my own behalf, but on 
behalf of those I hinted at above when I said that we have 
bureaucrats in our Party institutions as well as in the Soviet 

But why, indeed, should we not amalgamate the two if 
this is in the interests of our work? Do we not all see that 
such an amalgamation has been very beneficial in the 
case of the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, where 
it was brought about at the very beginning? Does not the 
Political Bureau discuss from the Party point of view many 



questions, both minor and important, concerning the 
"moves" we should make in reply to the "moves" of foreign 
powers in order to forestall their, say, cunning, if we are 
not to use a less respectable term? Is not this flexible amal- 
gamation of a Soviet institution with a Party institution 
a source of great strength in our politics? I think that what 
has proved its usefulness, what has been definitely adopted 
in our foreign politics and has become so customary that 
it no longer calls forth any doubt in this field, will be at 
least as appropriate (in fact, I think it will be much more 
appropriate) for our state apparatus as a whole. The func- 
tions of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection cover our 
state apparatus as a whole, and its activities should affect 
all and every state institution without exception: local, 
central, commercial, purely administrative, educational, 
archive, theatrical, etc. — in short, all without any exception. 

Why then should not an institution, whose activities 
have such wide scope, and which moreover requires such 
extraordinary flexibility of forms, be permitted to adopt 
this peculiar amalgamation of a Party control institution 
with a Soviet control institution? 

I see no obstacles to this. What is more, I think that 
such an amalgamation is the only guarantee of success in 
our work. I think that all doubts on this score arise in the 
dustiest corners of our government offices, and that they 
deserve to be treated with nothing but ridicule. 

* * 

Another doubt: is it expedient to combine educational 
activities with official activities? I think that it is not 
only expedient, but necessary. Generally speaking, in spite 
of our revolutionary attitude towards the West-European 
form of state, we have allowed ourselves to become infected 
with a number of its most harmful and ridiculous prejudices; 
to some extent we have been deliberately infected with them 
by our dear bureaucrats, who counted on being able again 
and again to fish in the muddy waters of these prejudices. 
And they did fish in these muddy waters to so great an 
extent that only the blind among us failed to see how 
extensively this fishing was practised. 



In all spheres of social, economic and political relation- 
ships we are "frightfully" revolutionary. But as regards 
precedence, the observance of the forms and rites of 
office management, our "revolutionariness" often gives 
way to the mustiest routine. On more than one occasion, 
we have witnessed the very interesting phenomenon 
of a great leap forward in social life being accompanied 
by amazing timidity whenever the slightest changes are 

This is natural, for the boldest steps forward were taken 
in a field which was long reserved for theoretical study, 
which was promoted mainly, and even almost exclusively, 
in theory. The Russian, when away from work, found solace 
from bleak bureaucratic realities in unusually bold theoret- 
ical constructions, and that is why in our country these 
unusually bold theoretical constructions assumed an unu- 
sually lopsided character. Theoretical audacity in general 
constructions went hand in hand with amazing timidity 
as regards certain very minor reforms in office routine. 
Some great universal agrarian revolution was worked out 
with an audacity unexampled in any other country, and at 
the same time the imagination failed when it came to work- 
ing out a tenth-rate reform in office routine; the imagina- 
tion, or patience, was lacking to apply to this reform the 
general propositions that produced such brilliant results 
when applied to general problems. 

That is why in our present life reckless audacity 
goes hand in hand, to an astonishing degree, with 
timidity of thought even when it comes to very minor 

I think that this has happened in all really great revolu- 
tions, for really great revolutions grow out of the contra- 
dictions between the old, between what is directed towards 
developing the old, and the very abstract striving for the 
new, which must be so new as not to contain the tiniest 
particle of the old. 

And the more abrupt the revolution, the longer will 
many of these contradictions last. 

* * 



The general feature of our present life is the following: 
we have destroyed capitalist industry and have done our 
best to raze to the ground the medieval institutions and 
landed proprietorship, and thus created a small and very 
small peasantry, which is following the lead of the proletar- 
iat because it believes in the results of its revolutionary 
work. It is not easy for us, however, to keep going until 
the socialist revolution is victorious in more developed 
countries merely with the aid of this confidence, because 
economic necessity, especially under NEP, keeps the pro- 
ductivity of labour of the small and very small peasants 
at an extremely low level. Moreover, the international 
situation, too, threw Russia back and, by and large, reduced 
the labour productivity of the people to a level considerably 
below pre-war. The West-European capitalist powers, partly 
deliberately and partly unconsciously, did everything they 
could to throw us back, to utilise the elements of the Civil 
War in Russia in order to spread as much ruin in the coun- 
try as possible. It was precisely this way out of the imperial- 
ist war that seemed to have many advantages. They 
argued somewhat as follows: "If we fail to overthrow the 
revolutionary system in Russia, we shall, at all events, hin- 
der its progress towards socialism." And from their point 
of view they could argue in no other way. In the end, their 
problem was half-solved. They failed to overthrow the new 
system created by the revolution, but they did prevent it 
from at once taking the step forward that would have justi- 
fied the forecasts of the socialists, that would have enabled 
the latter to develop the productive forces with enormous 
speed, to develop all the potentialities which, taken 
together, would have produced socialism; socialists would 
thus have proved to all and sundry that socialism contains 
within itself gigantic forces and that mankind had now 
entered into a new stage of development of extraordinarily 
brilliant prospects. 

The system of international relationships which has 
now taken shape is one in which a European state, Ger- 
many, is enslaved by the victor countries. Furthermore, 
owing to their victory, a number of states, the oldest states 
in the West, are in a position to make some insignificant 
concessions to their oppressed classes — concessions which, 



insignificant though they are, nevertheless retard the 
revolutionary movement in those countries and create 
some semblance of "class truce". 

At the same time, as a result of the last imperialist war, 
a number of countries of the East, India, China, etc., have 
been completely jolted out of the rut. Their development 
has definitely shifted to general European capitalist lines. 
The general European ferment has begun to affect them, 
and it is now clear to the whole world that they have been 
drawn into a process of development that must lead to 
a crisis in the whole of world capitalism. 

Thus, at the present time we are confronted with the 
question — shall we be able to hold on with our small and 
very small peasant production, and in our present state of 
ruin, until the West-European capitalist countries consum- 
mate their development towards socialism? But they are 
consummating it not as we formerly expected. They are 
not consummating it through the gradual "maturing" of 
socialism, but through the exploitation of some countries 
by others, through the exploitation of the first of the coun- 
tries vanquished in the imperialist war combined with the 
exploitation of the whole of the East. On the other hand, 
precisely as a result of the first imperialist war, the East 
has been definitely drawn into the revolutionary movement, 
has been definitely drawn into the general maelstrom of 
the world revolutionary movement. 

What tactics does this situation prescribe for our coun- 
try? Obviously the following. We must display extreme 
caution so as to preserve our workers' government and to 
retain our small and very small peasantry under its leader- 
ship and authority. We have the advantage that the whole 
world is now passing to a movement that must give rise 
to a world socialist revolution. But we are labouring under 
the disadvantage that the imperialists have succeeded in 
splitting the world into two camps; and this split is made 
more complicated by the fact that it is extremely difficult 
for Germany, which is really a land of advanced, cultured, 
capitalist development, to rise to her feet. All the capital- 
ist powers of what is called the West are pecking at her 
and preventing her from rising. On the other hand, the 
entire East, with its hundreds of millions of exploited 



working people, reduced to the last degree of human suffer- 
ing, has been forced into a position where its physical and 
material strength cannot possibly be compared with the 
physical, material and military strength of any of the much 
smaller West-European states. 

Can we save ourselves from the impending conflict with 
these imperialist countries? May we hope that the internal 
antagonisms and conflicts between the thriving imperialist 
countries of the West and the thriving imperialist countries 
of the East will give us a second respite as they did the 
first time, when the campaign of the West-European counter- 
revolution in support of the Russian counter-revolution 
broke down owing to the antagonisms in the camp of the 
counter-revolutionaries of the West and the East, in the 
camp of the Eastern and Western exploiters, in the camp 
of Japan and the U.S.A.? 

I think the reply to this question should be that the 
issue depends upon too many factors, and that the outcome 
of the struggle as a whole can be forecast only because in 
the long run capitalism itself is educating and training 
the vast majority of the population of the globe for the 

In the last analysis, the outcome of the struggle will 
be determined by the fact that Russia, India, China, etc., 
account for the overwhelming majority of the population 
of the globe. And during the past few years it is this major- 
ity that has been drawn into the struggle for emancipation 
with extraordinary rapidity, so that in this respect there 
cannot be the slightest doubt what the final outcome of the 
world struggle will be. In this sense, the complete victory of 
socialism is fully and absolutely assured. 

But what interests us is not the inevitability of this 
complete victory of socialism, but the tactics which we, 
the Russian Communist Party, we, the Russian Soviet 
Government, should pursue to prevent the West-European 
counter-revolutionary states from crushing us. To ensure 
our existence until the next military conflict between the 
counter-revolutionary imperialist West and the revolu- 
tionary and nationalist East, between the most civilised 
countries of the world and the Orientally backward coun- 
tries which, however, comprise the majority, this majority 



must become civilised. We, too, lack enough civilisation 
to enable us to pass straight on to socialism, although we 
do have the political requisites for it. We should adopt the 
following tactics, or pursue the following policy, to save 

We must strive to build up a state in which the workers 
retain the leadership of the peasants, in which they retain 
the confidence of the peasants, and by exercising the great- 
est economy remove every trace of extravagance from our 
social relations. 

We must reduce our state apparatus to the utmost degree 
of economy. We must banish from it all traces of extrava- 
gance, of which so much has been left over from tsarist 
Russia, from its bureaucratic capitalist state machine. 

Will not this be a reign of peasant limitations? 

No. If we see to it that the working class retains its lead- 
ership over the peasantry, we shall be able, by exercising 
the greatest possible thrift in the economic life of our state, 
to use every saving we make to develop our large-scale 
machine industry, to develop electrification, the hydraulic 
extraction of peat, to complete the Volkhov Power Proj- 
ect, 162 etc. 

In this, and in this alone, lies our hope. Only when we 
have done this shall we, speaking figuratively, be able to 
change horses, to change from the peasant, muzhik horse 
of poverty, from the horse of an economy designed for a 
ruined peasant country, to the horse which the proletariat 
is seeking and must seek — the horse of large-scale machine 
industry, of electrification, of the Volkhov Power Station, 

That is how I link up in my mind the general plan of 
our work, of our policy, of our tactics, of our strategy, 
with the functions of the reorganised Workers' and Peas- 
ants' Inspection. This is what, in my opinion, justifies the 
exceptional care, the exceptional attention that we must 
devote to the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection in raising 
it to an exceptionally high level, in giving it a leadership 
with Central Committee rights, etc., etc. 

And this justification is that only by thoroughly purging 
our government machine, by reducing to the utmost every- 
thing that is not absolutely essential in it, shall we be 



certain of being able to keep going. Moreover, we shall 
be able to keep going not on the level of a small-peasant 
country, not on the level of universal limitation, but 
on a level steadily advancing to large-scale machine 

These are the lofty tasks that I dream of for our Workers' 
and Peasants' Inspection. That is why I am planning for 
it the amalgamation of the most authoritative Party body 
with an "ordinary" People's Commissariat. 

March 2, 1923 

Pravda, No. 49, 

March 4, 1923 
Signed: N. Lenin 

Published according to 
the stenographer's notes (type- 
written copy) checked with the 
newspaper text 



The Mensheviks were adherents of the petty-bourgeois opportun- 
ist trend in the Russian Social-Democratic movement and 
instruments of bourgeois influence over the working class. They 
received their name at the close of the Second R.S.D.L.P. Con- 
gress in August 1903, when at the elections to the Party's central 
organs they found themselves in the minority (menshinstvo), and 
the revolutionary Social-Democrats headed by Lenin won the 
majority (bolshinstvo); hence the names Bolsheviks and Menshe- 
viks. The Mensheviks sought to secure agreement between the 
proletariat and the bourgeoisie and pursued an opportunist line 
in the working-class movement. In the period of dual power after 
the bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 1917, when the 
dictatorship of the bourgeoisie as represented by the Provisional 
Government intertwined with the dictatorship of the proletariat 
and peasants as represented by the Soviets, the Mensheviks and 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries accepted-posts in the Provisional 
Government, supported its imperialist policy and opposed the 
mounting proletarian revolution. In the Soviets the Mensheviks 
pursued the same policy of supporting the Provisional Government 
and diverting the masses from the revolutionary movement. 

After the October Revolution, they became an openly counter- 
revolutionary party, organising and participating in conspira- 
cies and revolts against Soviet power. p. 21 

The Socialist-Revolutionaries were members of a petty-bourgeois 
party in Russia, which emerged at the end of 1901 and beginning 
of 1902. 

After the February bourgeois-democratic revolution in 1917 
they were, together with the Mensheviks, the mainstay of the 
counter-revolutionary Provisional Government of the bourgeoisie 
and landowners, while their leaders held posts in that govern- 
ment. Far from supporting the peasants' demand for the abolition 
of landlordism, the Socialist-Revolutionary Party pressed for its 
preservation. The Socialist-Revolutionary Ministers of the Pro- 
visional Government sent punitive detachments against peasants 
who seized landed estates. 

At the close of November 1917, the Left Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries formed an independent party. 

During the years of foreign military intervention and the Civil 
War the Socialist-Revolutionaries, carried on counter-revolutionary 



subversive activities, vigorously supported the interventionists 
and white guards, took part in counter-revolutionary plots and 
organised terrorist acts against leaders of the Soviet Government 
and the Communist Party. After the Civil War they continued 
their hostile activities within the country and among whiteguard 
emigres. p. 21 

The Two-and-a-Half International (whose official name was the 
International Association of Socialist Parties) was an interna- 
tional organisation of Centrist socialist parties and groups that had 
been forced out of the Second International by the revolutionary 
masses. It was formed at a conference in Vienna in February 
1921. While criticising the Second International, the leaders of 
the Two-and-a-Half International pursued an opportunist, split- 
ting policy on all key issues of the proletarian movement and 
sought to utilise their association to offset the growing influence 
of the Communists among the working-class masses. 

In May 1923, the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals 
merged into the so-called Socialist Labour International. p. 21 

4 The Communist Workers Party of Germany was formed in April 
1920 by "Left" Communists, who had been expelled from the 
Communist Party of Germany at the Heidelberg Congress in 1919. 
In November 1920, in order to facilitate the unification of all 
communist forces in Germany and satisfy the wishes of the best 
proletarian elements within it, the C.W.P.G. was temporarily 
admitted to the Comintern with the rights of a sympathising 
member on the condition that it merged with the United Commu- 
nist Party of Germany and supported its actions. The C.W.P.G. 
leadership did not fulfil the instructions of the Comintern Exec- 
utive Committee. For the sake of the workers still supporting 
the C.W.P.G., the Third Comintern Congress decided to give it 
two or three months in which to convene a congress and settle the 
question of unification. The C.W.P.G. leadership failed to fulfil 
the decision of the Third Congress and continued their splitting 
tactics with the result that the Comintern Executive Committee 
was compelled to break off relations with the party. The C.W.P.G. 
found itself outside the Comintern and subsequently degenerated 
into an insignificant sectarian group that had no proletarian 
support whatever and was hostile to the working class of Ger- 
many, p. 21 

5 The Workers' Opposition was an anti-Party faction formed in 
the Russian Communist Party in 1920 by Shlyapnikov, Medve- 
dyev, Kollontai and others. It took final shape during the debates 
on the role of the trade unions in 1920-21. Actually there was noth- 
ing of the working class about this opposition, which expressed 
the mood and aspirations of the petty bourgeoisie. It counterposed 
the trade unions to the Soviet Government and the Communist 



Party, considering them the highest form of working-class 

After the Tenth Party Congress, which found the propagation 
of the ideas of the Workers' Opposition incompatible with 
membership in the Communist Party, a large number of rank- 
and-file members of that opposition broke away from it. p. 21 

This is a reference to the counter-revolutionary mutiny, which 
broke out in Kronstadt on February 28, 1921. Organised by 
Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and whiteguards, it involved 
a considerable number of sailors, most of whom were raw recruits 
from the villages, who had little or no knowledge of politics and 
voiced the peasants' dissatisfaction with the requisitioning of 
surplus food. The economic difficulties in the country and the 
weakening of the Bolshevik organisation at Kronstadt facilitated 
the mutiny. 

Hesitating to oppose the Soviet system openly, the counter- 
revolutionary bourgeoisie adopted new tactics. With the purpose 
of deceiving the masses, the leaders of the revolt put forward the 
slogan "Soviets without Communists", hoping to remove the 
Communists from the leadership of the Soviets, destroy the Soviet 
system and restore the capitalist regime in Russia. 

On March 2, the mutineers arrested the fleet command. They 
contacted foreign imperialists, who promised them financial and 
military aid. The seizure of Kronstadt by the mutineers created 
a direct threat to Petrograd. 

Regular Red Army units commanded by Mikhail Tukhachevsky 
were sent by the Soviet Government to crush the mutiny. The 
Communist Party reinforced these units with more than 300 
delegates of the Tenth Party Congress; all these men, with Kliment 
Voroshilov at their head, had had fighting experience. The mutiny 
was snuffed out on March 18. p. 21 

7 The elections to the Constituent Assembly were held on Novem- 
ber 12 (25), 1917 according to lists drawn up before the October 
Revolution. Most of the seats were held by Right Socialist- 
Revolutionaries and other counter-revolutionary elements. Though 
it did not mirror the new alignment of forces that took shape in 
the country as a result of the revolution, the Communist Party and 
the Soviet Government felt the necessity of convening it because 
backward sections of the working population still believed in 
bourgeois parliamentarism. The Assembly opened in Petrograd 
on January 5 (18), 1918, but was dissolved on the next day by a 
decree of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee when the 
counter-revolutionary majority in it rejected the Declaration of 
Rights of the Working and Exploited People submitted by the 
All-Russia Central Executive Committee and refused to endorse 
the decrees of the Second Congress of Soviets on peace, land and 
the transfer of power to the Soviets. The decision to dissolve the 



Assembly was whole-heartedly approved by broad masses of work- 
ers, soldiers and peasants. p. 22 

This peace treaty was signed between Soviet Russia and the 
Quadruple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and 
Turkey) on March 3, 1918. It was ratified on March 15 by the Extraor- 
dinary Fourth All-Russia Congress of Soviets. The terms were 
extremely onerous for Soviet Russia. They gave Germany and 
Austria-Hungary control over Poland, almost the whole Baltic 
area and part of Byelorussia; the Ukraine was separated from 
Soviet Russia and became dependent upon Germany. Turkey 
received the towns of Kars, Batum and Ardagan. 

The signing of the Brest Treaty was preceded by a vehement strug- 
gle against Trotsky and the anti-Party group of "Left Communists". 
The treaty was signed thanks to a huge effort on Lenin's part. 
It was a wise political compromise, for it gave Soviet Russia a 
peaceful respite and enabled her to demobilise the old disinteg- 
rating army and create the new, Red Army, start socialist con- 
struction and muster her forces for the coming struggle against 
internal counter-revolution and foreign intervention. This policy 
promoted the further intensification of the struggle for peace and 
the growth of revolutionary sentiments among the troops and the 
masses of all belligerent countries. After the monarchy in Ger- 
many was overthrown by the revolution of November 1918, the 
All-Russia Central Executive Committee abrogated the predatory 
Brest Treaty. p. 22 

Lenin refers to the counter-revolutionary mutiny of the Czecho- 
slovak Corps inspired by the Entente with the connivance of the 
Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. The Corps, consisting 
of Czech and Slovak war prisoners, was formed in Russia before 
the Great October Socialist Revolution. In the summer of 1918 
it had more than 60,000 men (altogether in Russia there were 
about 200,000 Czech and Slovak prisoners of war). After Soviet 
rule was established, the financing of the Corps was undertaken 
by the Entente powers, who decided to use it against the Soviet 
Republic. Tomas Masaryk, President of the Czechoslovak 
National Council, proclaimed the Corps part of the French Army, 
and Entente representatives raised the question of evacuating 
it to France. The Soviet Government agreed to its evacuation on 
condition that the Russian soldiers in France were allowed to 
return home. Under an agreement signed on March 26, 1918, the 
Corps was given the possibility of leaving Russia via Vladivostok, 
provided it surrendered its weapons and removed the counter- 
revolutionary Russian officers from its command. But the counter- 
revolutionary command of the Corps perfidiously violated the 
agreement with the Soviet Government on the surrender of weap- 
ons and, acting on orders from the Entente imperialists, provoked 
an armed mutiny at the close of May. Operating in close contact 
with the whiteguards and kulaks, the White Czechs occupied 



considerable territory in the Urals, the Volga country and Sibe- 
ria, everywhere restoring bourgeois rule. 

On June 11, soon after the mutiny broke out, the Central Exec- 
utive Committee of the Czechoslovak communist groups in Russia 
appealed to the soldiers of the Corps, exposing the counter- 
revolutionary objectives of the mutiny and calling upon the Czech 
and Slovak workers and peasants to end the mutiny and join the 
Czechoslovak units of the Red Army. Most of the Czech and Slo- 
vak war prisoners were favourably disposed to Soviet power and 
did not succumb to the anti-Soviet propaganda of the Corps' 
reactionary command. Many of the soldiers refused to fight 
Soviet Russia after they realised that they were being deceived. 
Nearly 12,000 Czechs and Slovaks joined the Red Army. 

The Volga country was liberated by the Red Army in the 
autumn of 1918. The White Czechs were finally routed early in 1920. 

p. 23 

10 Wrangel — baron, tsarist general and rabid monarchist. During 
the foreign military intervention and Civil War he was a puppet 
of the British, French and U.S. imperialists. In April-November 
1920 he was commander-in-chief of the whiteguard armed forces 
in South Russia. He fled abroad after his forces were defeated by 
the Red Army. p. 23 

11 The mistakes of the "Lefts" in the Communist Party of Germany 
were that they incited the working class to premature actions. 
The German bourgeoisie utilised these mistakes to provoke the 
workers into armed action at an unpropitious time. A workers' 
revolt broke out in Central Germany in March 1921. That revolt 
was not supported by the workers of other industrial regions with 
the result that despite a heroic struggle it was quickly crushed. 
For Lenin's assessment of this revolt and criticism of the mis- 
takes of the "Lefts" see his "Speech in Defence of the Tactics of 
the Communist International" at the Third Comintern Congress 
and his "A Letter to the German Communists" (see present edi- 
tion, Vol. 32, pp. 468-77 and 512-23). p. 23 

12 Ekonomicheskaya Zhizn — a daily newspaper published in Moscow 
from November 1918 to November 1919. p. 30 

13 From December 1920 the Council of Labour and Defence was a 
permanent organ of the Council of People's Commissars. It exist- 
ed until 1937. It emerged in April 1920 on the basis of the Council 
of Workers' and Peasants' Defence, set up by decision of the All- 
Russia Central Executive Committee of November 30, 1918, with 
the purpose of mobilising manpower and means for the country's 
defence. The Council of Labour and Defence was also headed by 
Lenin. p. 32 

14 Lenin has in mind the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets 
(December 22-29, 1920) decision "On Soviet Construction", p. 35 



The purge was undertaken in the second half of 1921 on the basis 
of the Tenth R.C.P.(B.) Congress resolution "On Problems of 
Party Development". It was preceded by long and careful prep- 

Under the purge nearly 170,000 people, i.e., almost 25 per cent 
of the membership, were expelled from the Party. This improved 
the Party's social composition, strengthened discipline, gave the 
Party greater prestige among the non-Party worker and peasant 
masses and freed the Party from elements who discredited it. 
The Party's ideological and organisational unity was enhanced. 

p. 39 

The idea of convening a so-called labour congress, proposed by 
P. B. Axelrod and supported by other Mensheviks, was aimed 
at getting representatives of various workers' organisations 
together and founding a legal "broad labour party", which would 
include Social-Democrats, Socialist-Revolutionaries and anarch- 
ists. Actually, it would have meant the dissolution of the 
R.S.D.L.P. and its replacement by a non-Party organisation. 

p. 40 

Cadets — members of the Constitutional-Democratic Party, the 
chief political organisation of the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie 
in Russia. It was founded in October 1905, its membership 
including representatives of the bourgeoisie, Zemstvo leaders from 
among the landowners, and bourgeois intellectuals. In order to 
deceive the working people the Cadets falsely called themselves 
the "Party of People's Freedom", but in reality they never went 
beyond the demand for a constitutional monarchy. They con- 
sidered their main task to be the fight against the revolutionary 
movement and aspired to share power with the tsar and the feudal 
landowners. During the First World War they actively sup- 
ported the tsarist government's foreign policy of conquest, and 
in the period of the bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 
1917 they tried to save the monarchy. After the Great October 
Socialist Revolution they became irreconcilable enemies of Soviet 
rule and actively participated in all the armed counter-revolu- 
tionary actions and campaigns of the interventionists. When the 
interventionists and whiteguards were defeated, the Cadets fled 
abroad, where they continued their anti-Soviet, counter-revolu- 
tionary activity. p. 40 

Lenin wrote this letter to J. V. Stalin, who was at that time 
People's Commissar of Workers' and Peasants' Inspection, after 
receiving a preliminary report from Loginov, head of the fuel 
section at the industrial department of the Workers' and Peas- 
ants' Inspection, on the fuel situation and on the work of fuel 

The ideas in this letter were further developed by Lenin in a 
series of articles, including "How We Should Reorganise the 



Workers' and Peasants' Inspection" and "Better Fewer, But 
Better" (see present volume, pp. 481-86, 487-502). p. 42 

19 Sazhen — a Russian linear measure equal to 2.13 metres, used in 
the U.S.S.R. before the introduction of the metric system. p. 46 

20 This Congress, convened on Lenin's initiative, was held in Mos- 
cow on October 1-9, 1921. It was attended by nearly 900 scientists, 
engineers and technicians as well as workers from various indus- 
trial enterprises. 

Lenin was elected honorary chairman of the Congress, and his 
letter of greetings was read at the morning sitting on October 9, 
1921. p. 49 

21 The Extraordinary International Socialist Congress that sat in 
Basle on November 24-25, 1912, adopted a manifesto on war, 
which warned the peoples that an imperialist world war was 
imminent, showed the predatory objectives of that war and called 
upon the workers of all countries to make a determined stand 
for peace. It included a point, contributed by Lenin to the reso- 
lution of the Stuttgart Congress of 1907, that if an imperialist war 
broke out the socialists should utilise the economic and political 
crisis stemming from it to accelerate the downfall of capitalist 
class domination and to work for a socialist revolution. p. 57 

22 Held in Moscow on October 17-22, 1921, this Congress was attend- 
ed by 307 delegates. 

Its main object was to endorse a plan of work for 1922 and 
work out the forms and methods of agitation and propaganda in 
the situation called forth by the New Economic Policy. 

Lenin, who was given an ovation by the delegates, spoke at 
the evening session on October 17. 

The Political Education Departments were formed by local 
(volost, uyezd and gubernia) public education bodies in conform- 
ity with a decree issued on February 23, 1920. Their work was 
guided by the Central Political Education Committee at the 
People's Commissariat of Education. p. 60 

23 The All-Russia Central Executive Committee passed its decision 
of April 29, 1918 on the basis of Lenin's report "On the Immediate 
Tasks of the Soviet Government". The propositions in that report 
and in the article "The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Govern- 
ment" were summed up by Lenin in six theses, which, with some 
additions, were unanimously endorsed by the Party Central 
Committee on May 3, 1918. See "Six Theses on the Immediate 
Tasks of the Soviet Government" (present edition, Vol. 27, 
pp. 314-17). p. 61 

24 Gubernia economic conferences were local organs of the Council 
of Labour and Defence. They were set up by the Executive 



Committees of the gubernia Soviets in conformity with the 
decision passed by the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets in 
December 1920. p. 76 

25 This Conference was held on October 29-31, 1921, and was attended 
by 637 delegates. 

It debated 1) the international and domestic situation, 2) the 
report of the gubernia economic conference, 3) the report on the 
work of the Moscow Committee of the R.C.P.(B.), 4) the report 
of the Auditing Commission, and 5) the report of the Control 
Commission. Moreover, it heard a report on the purging of the 
Party in Moscow and Moscow Gubernia, and on other questions. 

Lenin delivered his report on the New Economic Policy at 
the first sitting on October 29. p. 81 

26 Lenin has in mind his articles: "The Chief Task of Our Day", 
"The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government", "'Left-Wing' 
Childishness and the Petty-Bourgeois Mentality" and others (see 
present edition, Vol. 27, pp. 159-63, 235-77, 323-54). p. 87 

27 See Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 27, pp. 314-17. p. 88 

28 Listok Obyavleni (Moskovsky Listok Obyavleni [Moscow Adver- 
tising Sheet]) was published privately in Moscow from October 
1921 to February 1922. p. 89 

29 See Engels's letters to A. Bebel of March 18-28, 1875 and Decem- 
ber 11, 1884 (Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 
1965, pp. 291, 381). p. 110 

30 Engels, Emigre Literature (see Marx/Engels, Werke, Bd. 18, 
S. 534. Dietz Verlag, Berlin). p. Ill 

31 See Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 27, p. 274. p. 112 

32 This meeting, attended by 2,000 workers, was organised as an 
evening of reminiscences. 

Lenin spoke in his capacity of Deputy to the Moscow Soviet 
elected by the workers of the Prokhorov Textile Mills. 

p. 117 

33 This pamphlet was not published. Lenin's pamphlet The Problem 
of the New Economic Policy, which included the articles "Fourth 
Anniversary of the October Revolution" and "The Importance 
of Gold Now and After the Complete Victory of Socialism", was 
published in 1921 (see present volume, pp. 51-59, 109-116). p. 121 

34 See Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 29, pp. 55-88. p. 121 

35 The First Moscow Gubernia Agricultural Congress, held on 
November 28-30, 1921, was attended by more than 300 delegates 



from peasants and land offices. Lenin spoke on November 29, 
1921. p. 128 

36 La Voix Paysanne — weekly organ of the Central Association of 
Working Peasants, was published in Paris by the Communist 
Party of France in 1920-37. p. 131 

37 Lenin refers to Engels's article "The Peasant Question in France 
and Germany" (see Marx and Engels, Selected Works in Two 
Volumes, Vol. II, Moscow, 1958, pp. 420-40). p. 134 

38 This letter was written in connection with the drawing up of 
a resolution on Party purge for the Eleventh All-Russia Confer- 
ence of the R.C.P.(B.). Illness prevented Lenin from attending 
the Conference. His recommendations on stricter conditions for 
admission into the Party were incorporated in the resolution 
adopted by the Party Conference (see KPSS v resolyutsiakh i re- 
sheniyakh syezdov, konferentsi i plenumov Ts.K. [C.P.S.U. 
in Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Conferences and C.C. 
Plenary Meetings], Part I, 1954, p. 597). p. 138 

39 Lenin's recommendation that the Ninth All-Russia Congress of 
Soviets adopt a special resolution against the adventurist policy 
of the bourgeois governments of Poland, Finland and Rumania 
was approved by the Political Bureau of the C.C, R.C.P.(B.), 
at a meeting on December 22, 1921. p. 139 

40 The Ninth All-Russia Congress of Soviets sat in Moscow on 
December 23-28, 1921. It was attended by 1,993 delegates, of 
whom 1,631 had a casting vote and 362 a consultative voice. 

This Congress summed up the first results of activities under the 
New Economic Policy, fully approving the home and foreign 
policy of the workers' and peasants' government. In its "Decla- 
ration on the International Position of the R.S.F.S.R.", the Con- 
gress made the proposal to the governments of neighbouring and 
all other states to found their foreign policy on the principle of 
peaceful coexistence, on "peaceful and friendly coexistence with 
the Soviet republics". 

The Congress devoted its main attention to finding ways of 
rapidly restoring agriculture as a key condition for the develop- 
ment of the country's entire economy. It also gave much of its 
attention to famine relief, calling upon workers and peasants 
to bend every effort to help the people, particularly children, 
stricken by famine along the Volga. The Congress expressed its 
"warm appreciation to the workers of all countries who came to 
the assistance of the famine-stricken gubernias of Soviet Rus- 
sia . 

The Congress decisions stated that the restoration and develop- 
ment of large-scale industry "is, in addition to the restoration 
of agriculture, the cardinal task of the Republic". 

Lenin was very active in preparing for the Congress and directed 
its work. 



He wrote the "Instructions on Questions of Economic Manage- 
ment", which were adopted by the Congress, and also a number 
of documents on which the Congress decisions were based. 

The Congress elected a new All-Russia Central Executive Com- 
mittee consisting of 386 members and 127 alternate members, p. 141 

This Conference on restricting naval armaments and on Pacific 
and Far Eastern problems was convened on the initiative of the 
U.S.A. It sat in Washington from November 12, 1921 to February 
6, 1922 and was attended by representatives of the U.S.A. Brit- 
ain, Japan, France, Italy, China, Belgium, Portugal and the 
Netherlands. Soviet Russia was not invited, nor was the Far 
Eastern Republic, which was in existence at the time. Without 
the Soviet Republic's participation, the Conference examined 
a number of problems concerning Soviet Russia. In this connec- 
tion, the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs lodged two 
protests — on July 19 and November 2, 1921 — with the govern- 
ments concerned, stating it would not recognise decisions taken 
by the Conference without the participation of one of the princi- 
pal interested parties. On December 8, 1921, the People's Commis- 
sariat of Foreign Affairs protested against the discussion at the 
Washington Conference of the problem of the Chinese-Easter 
Railway, which solely concerned Russia and China. 

The decisions of the Conference were a supplement to the Ver- 
sailles Treaty; under pressure brought to bear by the U.S.A. and 
Britain, Japan was compelled to relinquish some of the 
positions she had captured in China, but at the same time she 
consolidated her rule in South Manchuria. p. 155 

Yugostal — a mining metallurgical trust founded in September 
1921. It embraced some large iron and steel plants in the Ukraine, 
the Northern Caucasus and the Crimea and played an important 
part in rehabilitating the country's iron and steel industry. It 
existed until 1919. p. 168 

The first section (capacity — 5,000 kw) of the State Shatura Dis- 
trict Power Station, a project started in 1918, was commissioned 
on July 25, 1920. The station was completed in 1925 and was 
named after Lenin. 

The building of the Kashira Power Station was started in Feb- 
ruary 1919, and it was expected that it would be completed by 
the end of 1921, when the Ninth All-Russia Congress of Soviets 
was due to open. Lenin attached great importance to this station as 
a power source for some of the largest factories and mills in Mos- 
cow and as the first project under the electrification plan. He 
kept a close watch on the course of the project, directly partici- 
pating in the solution of many of its problems and checking how 
it was being supplied with the necessary materials, manpower, 
fuel and equipment. 





The first section (12,000 kw) of this power station became oper- 
ational on June 4, 1922. p. 169 

The Krasny Oktyabr (formerly Utkina Zavod) Power Station was 
completed in 1922, its first section (10,000 kw) becoming opera- 
tional on October 8, 1922. p. 170 

This is a reference to the trial of 35 private businessmen — owners 
of tea-and-dining rooms, bakeries, shoemaking establishments, 
etc. — in Moscow on December 15-18, 1921. They were charged 
with violating the Labour Code, namely, exploiting the labour 
of children, juveniles and women, lengthening the working day, 
and so on. Workers of large enterprises, both members and non- 
members of the Party, acted as prosecutors. The court sentenced 
ten of the accused to large fines or to forced labour without 
imprisonment. p. 171 

46 Lenin has in mind the fable Geese by the well-known Russian 
writer Ivan Krylov. p. 173 

47 The role and tasks of the trade unions under the conditions created 
by the New Economic Policy were examined at a Plenary Meet- 
ing of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) on December 28, 1921. The draft of 
the decision on the trade unions adopted by the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) 
was written by Lenin. 

The theses of January 12, 1922 were examined by the Political 
Bureau of the Central Committee which unanimously approved 
them and submitted them without amendments to the Eleventh 
Party Congress. They were unanimously passed at that Congress 
(see KPSS v rezolyutsiakh i resheniyakh syezdov, konferentsi i 
plenumov Ts.K. [C.P.S.U. in Resolutions and Decisions of Con- 
gresses, Conferences and C.C. Plenary Meetings], Part I, 1954, 
pp. 603-12). p. 184 

48 The Draft Directive of the Political Bureau on the New Economic 
Policy was debated at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the 
Central Committee on January 12, 1922 and accepted as a basis; 
it was endorsed on January 16, 1922. p. 197 

49 Lenin's greeting to the working people of Daghestan was written 
in reply to a letter from Comrade Karkmasov, Chairman of the 
Council of People's Commissars of the Daghestan Soviet Social- 
ist Republic, in which he reported that a start had been made 
in tapping mineral resources. Two poods of mercury extracted 
in Daghestan were sent to Lenin as a production gift. p. 199 

50 This letter was written on the eve of the First Congress of Soviets 
of Georgia, which was held on February 25-March 3, 1922. 

Lenin's suggestion to strengthen the Georgian Red Army was 
called forth by the aggressive stand of the British imperialists 



and by the campaign of slander started against the Soviet Repub- 
lic by the reactionary imperialist press together with the leaders 
of the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals and the Geor- 
gian Mensheviks. They demanded the withdrawal of the Red 
Army from Georgia with the objective of wresting that territory 
away from Soviet Russia. 

The First Congress of Soviets of Georgia adopted statement 
"On the Red Army", which declared that the strengthening of the 
existing nucleus of the Georgian Red Army was the cardinal task 
and requested the Government of the fraternal Russian Soviet 
Republic not to withdraw the Red Army from Georgian territory. 

Lenin's suggestion on strengthening the Georgian Red Army 
was accepted by the Political Bureau on February 25, 1922. 

p. 200 

The Civil Code was revised on the basis of Lenin's directives 
in the letter to D. I. Kursky. It was examined at the Third and 
Fourth Sessions of the Ninth All-Russia Central Executive Com- 
mittee (in May and October 1922). The Fourth Session passed 
a decision to give effect to the Civil Code as of January 1, 1923 
(see Lenin's speech at the Fourth Session of the Ninth All-Russia 
Central Executive Committee in the present volume, pp. 390-95). 

p. 202 

The International Economic and Financial Conference was held 
in Genoa on the initiative of the Soviet Government expressed 
in Notes to Britain, Italy, the U.S.A., France and Japan on Octo- 
ber 28, 1921. The Soviet Notes stated that the Conference should 
examine the establishment of peace and economic co-operation 
in Europe and also the question of Russian debts. The decision 
to convene the Conference was taken by the Supreme Entente 
Council at a conference in Cannes on January 6, 1922. 

The Allied countries invited Soviet Russia to the Conference 
in the hope of compelling her to make a number of political and 
economic concessions and, at the same time, establishing econom- 
ic relations with her. 

The Soviet delegation to the Genoa Conference was named 
by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee at an extraordi- 
nary meeting on January 27. Lenin was appointed to lead the 
delegation, and G. V. Chicherin was named as his deputy. The 
question of Lenin going to Genoa was widely discussed by the 
people of the Soviet republics. Many of them expressed apprehen- 
sion for his life and safety and opposed his going to the Conference. 
The Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bol- 
sheviks) passed a special decision on this question, under which 
Lenin's plenary powers as head of the delegation were passed to 

Lenin directed the work of the delegation, drew up the Central 
Committee's directives to it and also other important documents 
connected with Soviet Russia's participation in the Genoa Con- 



The Conference sat from April 10 to May 19, 1922. It was attended 
by representatives of 29 countries. At the Conference the Soviet 
delegation reiterated the need for peaceful coexistence between 
states with different social and economic systems. Its statement, 
approved by Lenin and endorsed by the Council of People's 
Commissars, declared. "While remaining true to the principles 
of communism, the Russian delegation recognises that in the pres- 
ent epoch, which makes the parallel existence of the old and the 
emergent social system possible, economic co-operation between 
states representing the two systems of ownership is imperatively 
necessary for universal economic reconstruction (see Material]) 
Genuezskoi konferentsii. Polny stenografichesky otchot [Materials 
of the Genoa Conference. Complete Verbatim Report], Moscow, 
1922, p. 78). 

The Genoa Conference failed to settle the problems that con- 
fronted it. The Soviet delegation emphatically rejected the 
attempts of the imperialist powers to impose a colonial status upon 
Soviet Russia (the establishment of control over Soviet finances 
and so forth). By proposing talks on a general reduction of arma- 
ments and the banning of the most barbarous means of warfare 
(poison gases, military aircraft), the Soviet delegation demonstrat- 
ed the peace-loving nature of Soviet Russia's Leninist foreign 
policy to the whole world. p. 203 

This article was not completed. p. 204 

Smena Vekh — the title of a collection of articles published in 
Prague in 1921, and then the name of a journal published in Paris 
from October 1921 to March 1922. It was the mouthpiece of advo- 
cates of a socio-political trend that emerged among White emigre 
intellectuals in 1921 and was supported by part of the old, bour- 
geois intelligentsia that did not emigrate for various reasons. 

A certain revival of capitalist elements in Soviet Russia 
following the implementation of the New Economic Policy served 
as the social foundation for this trend. When its adherents 
saw that foreign military intervention could not over- 
throw Soviet rule they began advocating co-operation with the 
Soviet government, hoping for a bourgeois regeneration of the 
Soviet state. They regarded the New Economic Policy as an evo- 
lution of Soviet rule towards the restoration of capitalism. Some 
of them were prepared loyally to co-operate with the Soviet 
government and promote the country's economic rejuvenation. 
Subsequently, most of them openly sided with the counter- 

A characteristic of this trend is given by Lenin in this 
volume (see pp. 285-86). ' p. 205 

Judas Golovlyov — a landowner and main personage of M. Y. Sal- 
tykov-Shchedrin's The Golovlyov Family. He was called Judas 
for his bigotry, hypocrisy and callousness. The name Judas Golov- 
lyov has become a synonym for these negative traits. p. 205 



56 This is a reference to the fable The Eagle and the Hens by Ivan 
Krylov. p. 210 

57 In the Reichstag on August 4, 1914, the Social-Democratic faction 
voted with the bourgeois representatives in favour of granting the 
imperial government war credits amounting to 5,000 million marks, 
thereby approving Wilhelm IFs imperialist policy. p. 210 

58 This Congress, held in Moscow on March 3-7, 1922, was attended 
by 318 delegates representing more than half a million members 
of the metalworkers' union. Lenin spoke at a meeting of the Com- 
munist group at the Congress on the morning of March 6. p. 212 

59 Oblomov — the main personage in the novel of the same name 
by I. A. Goncharov. The name Oblomov has become a synonym 
of narrow-mindedness, stagnation and immobility. p. 214 

60 The All-Russia Democratic Conference was convened in Septem- 
ber 1917 in Petrograd by the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolution- 
ary Central Executive Committee of Soviets to decide the ques- 
tion of power. Actually, the conference was called with the purpose 
of distracting the people's attention from the mounting revolution. 
More than 1,500 persons attended the conference. The Menshevik 
and Socialist-Revolutionary leaders did their utmost to reduce 
representation from the Soviets of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies 
and increase the number of delegates from various petty-bour- 
geois and bourgeois organisations and thereby ensure a majority. 
The Bolsheviks went to the conference to use its rostrum for 
exposing the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. 

The conference passed a resolution on the formation of a Pre- 
Parliament (Provisional Council of the Republic). This was an 
attempt to create the illusion that a parliamentary system had 
been instituted in Russia. However, the rules endorsed by the Pro- 
visional Government reduced the Pre-Parliament to the status 
of a consultative body. Lenin categorically insisted on a boycott 
of the Pre-Parliament, because to remain in it would give the 
impression that that body could resolve the tasks of the revolution. 
The Central Committee debated Lenin's suggestion and, despite 
the opposition of Kamenev and other capitulators, adopted a 
decision to recall Bolsheviks from the Pre-Parliament. On Octo- 
ber 7 (20), the day the Pre-Parliament opened, the Bolsheviks 
made the Central Committee Declaration public and walked out. 

p. 219 

61 Lenin refers to the "Speech on the Attitude Towards the Provi- 
sional Government" at a sitting of the First All-Russia Congress 
of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies on June 4 (17), 1917 (see 
present edition, Vol. 25, p. 20). p. 219 

62 Officer cadets — students of military academies in tsarist Russia. 

p. 219 






63 This is a reference to Vladimir Mayakovsky's Incessant Meeting 
Sitters. p. 223 

Lenin refers to words used by Engels in Emigre Literature (Marx/ 
Engels, Werke, Bd. 18, S. 534. Dietz Verlag. Berlin). p. 223 

Istpart (Commission for Collecting and Studying Materials on 
the History of the October Revolution and the History of the 
Russian Communist Party) was set up at the People's Commis- 
sariat of Education by a decree passed by the Council of People's 
Commissars on September 21, 1920. On December 1, 1921, by 
a decision passed by the C.C., R.C.P.(B.), Istpart became a 
department of the Party Central Committee. In 1928 it was merged 
with the Lenin Institute at the CO, C.P.S.U.(B.). p. 224 

Pod Znamenem Marksizma — a philosophical and socio-economic 
journal published in Moscow from January 1922 to June 1944 
with the purpose of popularising materialism and atheism, p. 227 

67 N. G. Chernyshevsky (1828-1889)— a Russian revolutionary demo- 
crat, an outstanding predecessor of Russian Social-Democracy, 
economist, philosopher and writer. p. 228 

68 Popular Socialists were members of the petty-bourgeois Popular 
Socialist Labour Party, which stemmed from the Right wing of 
the Socialist-Revolutionary Party in 1906. The Popular Socialists 
advocated a bloc with the Constitutional-Democrats. During the 
First World War they preached social-chauvinistic views. 

After the bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 1917 
the Popular Socialists actively supported the bourgeois Provi- 
sional Government, accepting portfolios in it. After the October 
Socialist Revolution they took part in counter-revolutionary con- 
spiracies and in armed action against the Soviet Government. 
They ceased to exist as a party during the period of the foreign 
military intervention and the Civil War. p. 228 

Josef Dietzgen (1828-1888) — a German tannery worker, who 
independently arrived at dialectical materialism. p. 228 

See Engels, Emigre Literature (Marx/Engels, Werke, Bd. 18, S. 
532. Dietz Verlag. Berlin). p. 229 

71 Lenin borrowed this expression from A Story of a Town by M. Y . Sal- 
tykov-Shchedrin, the well-known Russian satirist. p. 234 

72 Ekonomist — a journal published in Petrograd in 1921-22 by the 
Department of Industry and Economy of the Russian Technical 

The Russian Technical Society was a scientific body founded in 
St. Petersburg in 1866. It had branches in other towns and its 





purpose was to help promote industry and popularise technical 

After the October Revolution most of the Society's members 
who, in addition to engineers and technicians, included office 
employees, lawyers, merchants and former owners of industrial 
enterprises, were hostile to Soviet rule. The Society was closed 
in 1929. p. 234 

73 On March 10, 1922, E. A. Preobrazhensky's theses "Fundamental 
Principles of the Policy of the R.C.P. in the Present-Day Country- 
side", prepared by him for the Eleventh Party Congress, were cir- 
culated to all members of the Organising Bureau and the Political 
Bureau of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.). Lenin wrote the letter published 
in this volume after reading these theses. The Political Bureau 
discussed Preobrazhensky's theses on March 18 and endorsed 
the proposals formulated by Lenin in Paragraph 15 of his letter. 

p. 237 



Poor Peasants' Committees were instituted by the All-Russia Central 
Executive Committee in conformity with its decree "On Organising 
and Supplying the Village Poor" of June 11, 1918. The functions of 
these committees were to register the food reserves of the peasant 
farms, bring to light food surpluses at the kulak farms, help Soviet 
food organs to requisition these surpluses, supply the poor peas- 
ants with food at the expense of the kulak farms, distribute farm 
implements and manufactured goods, and so forth. However, 
their practical activities embraced all aspects of the work in the 
countryside and they became centres and organs of the proletarian 
dictatorship in the countryside. The organisation of these commit- 
tees ushered in the further development of the socialist revolution 
in the countryside. At the end of 1918, having fulfilled their tasks, 
the Poor Peasants' Committees were merged with volost and 
village Soviets. p. 238 

The decree of the State Political Administration committing 
members of the C.C. and active members of the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionary Party for trial before the Supreme Revolutionary Tri- 
bunal for counter-revolutionary, terrorist acts against Soviet rule, 
was published on February 28, 1922. In reply to this decree, a 
group of Socialist-Revolutionaries living abroad and calling them- 
selves "Delegation of Socialist-Revolutionaries Living Abroad", 
published an appeal "To Socialist Parties Throughout the World" 
in issue No. 913 of their newspaper Golos Rossii (Voice of Russia) 
(published in Berlin) on March 11, 1922. In this appeal they pro- 
tested against what they alleged was a predetermined death sen- 
tence for the accused. The appeal was supported by the parties of 
the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals, and also by 
reformist trade unions and bourgeois intellectuals. 

The document published in this volume was written in connec- 
tion with telegrams sent to Lenin and Chicherin by the National 
Council of the Independent Labour Party of Britain, T. Stauning, 



Chairman of the Danish Social-Democratic Party, E. Vandervelde, 
a leader of the Second International, and by the Presidium of the 
General German Workers' Union, who demanded that the trial of 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries be postponed until the Berlin Con- 
ference of the three Internationals. 

The trial of the Socialist-Revolutionaries was held in Moscow on 
June 8-August 7, 1922. Thirty-four persons were tried: members 
of the Central Committee and of the Moscow Bureau of the Cen- 
tral Committee, and individual members of the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionary Party who acted on the strength of directives from that 
party's Central Committee. The trial fully bore out the indict- 
ment and revealed the counter-revolutionary activity of the Cen- 
tral Committee of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party: conspiracies 
and the organisation of uprisings against Soviet rule, the murder 
of workers' leaders, support for the foreign intervention. The 
Supreme Tribunal sentenced twelve of the main accused to death. 
The Presidium of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee 
endorsed this sentence and ordered it to be executed if the Social- 
ist-Revolutionary Party did not relinquish its armed struggle 
against Soviet rule and continued its terrorist acts and organising 
uprisings. Some of the accused were sentenced to imprisonment of 
from two to ten years. A number of the accused, who repented and 
exposed the criminal activities of the Central Committee of the 
Socialist-Revolutionary Party, were released from custody. 

p. 243 

See Note No. 3 p. 243 

The reference is to the resolution on electrification adopted by 
the Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets, which sat on December 
22-29, 1920 (see present edition, Vol. 31, p. 532). p. 246 

Lenin refers to the People's Commissariat of Workers' and Peas- 
ants' Inspection. 

The Workers' and Peasants' Inspection was set up in February 
1920 on Lenin's initiative through the reorganisation of the Peo- 
ple's Commissariat of State Control, which began functioning 
in the first months after the establishment of Soviet rule. p. 247 

Lenin wrote this greeting at the request of Bednota's editor 
V. A. Karpinsky. 

Lenin took a keen interest in the work of this newspaper and 
required Karpinsky to send him regular reports on the number 
of letters received by the newspaper from peasants and Red Army 
men, on the general mood expressed in these letters and the main 
questions raised in them. 

Bednota, whose public